Social Audit

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In contour with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Government of India has come up with numerous schemes. Envisaging upliftment of the downtrodden, a major leap towards empowerment, inclusion and targeting poverty through employment has been taken up by the State. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (No 42) also known as the “Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act”, and abbreviated to MGNREGA, is an Indian labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’ and ensure livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

With the aim to maintain transparency and accountability the concept of Social Audit has been introduced under MGNREGA; wherein Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs), political representatives, civil servants and workers of Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh collectively organize social audits to prevent mass corruption under the MGNREGA. As corruption is attributed to the secrecy in governance, the ‘Jansunwai’ or public hearing and the right to information (RTI), enacted in 2005, are used to fight this secrecy. Also Social Audit adopts an integrated approach, where the views of the various stakeholders involved are taken into consideration, unified and reflected, a process providing opportunity to individuals and institutions to debate and deliberate, and put forth their ideas and perspectives. Further, stakeholders also represent and express their views in a social audit forum leading to strengthening accountability and transparency in local bodies.

Conduction of Social Audit Under MGNREGA:

Social audit is found on the principal of participatory research wherein people (beneficiaries) having direct stake in the process are engaged in the process of critical investigation, analysis and action. The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has taken up an initiative to conduct Social Audits of schemes, MGNREGA being of the major contributors.

As per the Act of MGNREGA social audits are being conducted by ADMCL in the states of Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh to help narrow gaps between vision / goals and reality between efficiency and effectiveness.

To review the dilapidated conditions of the primary health care services (PHCs) and analyze the provision of basic primary educations, social audits are also being conducted in the preview of Ministry of Health and Education.