Have you heard of skewflation? Or Repeat House Rent Survey, all terms used in describing various phenomenon in the Indian economy. Well, you can find the answers in Arthapedia, an interesting Government initiative. Launched in August, Arthapedia is a Wikipedia of sorts of economic terms used in India and is the brainchild of Chief Economic Advisor Dr Kaushik Basu.

To use the Government's language: "Arthapedia is a portal for facilitating understanding of the Indian Economy and its governance by explaining the concepts used in the economic policy domain in India.

The objective of this portal is to increase transparency in government by simplifying indigenous concepts or by introducing domestic institutions to support the professional development of public policy economists. It is meant to enrich and enhance citizen friendly policy formulation through dialogue and collaborative action."

What’s Appropriation?

Arthapedia says the portal is intended to cater to academicians, economists, policy practitioners, financial journalists, students and to any interested citizen, both within the country and abroad.

We looked at the meaning of the word appropriation, one of those things which foxes us periodically. Here goes the explanation: "According to Article 114 of the Indian constitution, no money can be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund of India to meet specified expenditure except under an appropriation made by Law. Similarly, State (sub-national) Governments can also draw from their Consolidated Funds only after an appropriation act is passed.

Every year, after budgetary estimates are approved, an Appropriation Bill is passed by the Parliament/state legislature and then it is presented to the President/Governor. After the assent by the President/governor to the bill, it becomes an Act."

Hold Your Horses

Unlike a normal Wikipedia, you cannot however fire away freely. You have to submit your write-up to an Editorial Board (comprising officials of the Indian Economic Service) who say they will come back within 7 days. Only entries cleared by the Board will make it. It’s a start nevertheless and Dr Basu is driving many interesting transparency initiatives within the Ministry of Finance. Write to support@arthapedia.in.