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Social Audits Overview


India being one the largest democratic country has place its people's at the core of its development activities. The 73rd Amendment to the constitution has put forth for the conduct of social audit by the Gram Sabha or the public. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) emphasizes the importance of transparency in the scheme and mandates Social Audit as a tool to maintain transparency and accountability through the participation of the people.

Social Audit is defined as a process in which details of the resources, both financial and non financial used by the Public Agency for the development initiatives, are shared with the public through a public platform. This aspect allows the clientele to enforce transparency and accountability by scrutinizing the development activities which also enable them to participant in the development process.

Needs for Social Audit

  1. To ensure transparency in decision making and implementation of scheme
  2. To enhance accountability of delivery system to the people
  3. To increase public participation in the implementation of the scheme
  4. To enable people to exercise their rights
  5. To plug in irregularities in the implementation of the scheme

Social Audit under MGNREGA

One of the integral features of MGNREGA is that it gives central importance to ensure transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Scheme through the conduct of social audit. The main purpose of conducting social audit is to enable the community to exercise the right bestowed on them through MGNREGA under Rights and Entitlement of Wage Seekers. With the latest notification by the Ministry of Rural Development of MGNREGA Audit of Schemes Rules, it placed a norm to conduct social audit atleast once in every six months.

Social audit as a continuous process: tool for monitoring and evaluation

Social Audit under MGNREGA is understood as an on-going continuous process of public vigilance, auditing the scheme during pre implementation of the project, during project implementation and post implementation of the projects. In the context of MGNREGA, the process of social audit should include public vigilance and verification of the following 11 stages of implementation

  1. Registration of families
  2. Distribution of Job cards.
  3. Receipt of work Applications.
  4. Preparation of Shelf of Projects and Selection of Sites.
  5. Development and approval of technical estimates and issuance of work order.
  6. Allotment of work to individuals.
  7. Implementation and supervision of works.
  8. Payment of unemployment allowance.
  9. Payment of wages.
  10. Evaluation of work.
  11. Mandatory social audit in the village.

Social Audit Forum

Under MGNREGA apart from the ongoing process of social audit it has mandated to convene Social Audit Forum once in every six months, which will serve as an institutional forum where people can conduct details public audit of all MGNREGA works that have been carried out in their area in the preceding six months

Institutional Arrangement for the conduct of Social Audit

In the absence of the culture of Panchayati Raj in the State, alternate arrangement has been made where the Village Employment Council consisting of every male and female head of each household is formed vested with the role and function as that of the Gram Sabha and Area Employment Council (AEC) formed at a cluster level comprising of all villages within 2.5 km radius is given the responsibilities as that of the Gram Panchayat

As per section 17 (2) of the Act, the Gram Sabha shall conduct Social Audit of all the projects under the Scheme. The VEC initially are entrusted with the responsibility for conducting Social Audit. However, as per to the amendment of the State Scheme, the AEC are entrusted to carry out social Audit, where each AEC will constitute a Social Audit Committee. But due to inexperience and absence of capable persons, instead of the AEC, Non- Government Organisations are engaged as Social Audit facilitators. The Facilitators have been trained by the State Government and are given the responsibility to facilitate conduct of social audit in the State.

Social Audits conducted Cumulative upto the month of March, 2013

Districts No Of Social Audits No of public Hearings
2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13
South Garo Hills 10 16 60 7 4 10
West Garo Hills 1321 549 1332 33 223 37
East Khasi Hills 443 531 705 10 11 48
Jaintia Hills 249 174 424 5 7 8
Ri Bhoi 589 589 590 129 54 146
East Garo Hills 286 925 925 27 35 26
West Khasi Hills 510 575 662 510 454 662
Total 3408 3359 4698 721 788 937