Govt decides to institutionalise social audits in rural schemes

at 6:39 pm

New Delhi (NVI): Government has decided to institutionalize the social audits in major rural schemes, starting with National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) and Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G), official sources said.

A beginning to this effect has been made by Department of Rural Development with the drafting of the Guidelines. In this backdrop, a two-day ‘National Seminar on Social Audit of Rural Development Programmes’ is also being organised at Vigyan Bhavan here from 13th to 14th November, an official statement said.

The seminar will be organized jointly by the Department of Rural Development and National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, with an objective to understand the current status of social audits and Social Audit Units and develop plan for roll out of social audit in other programmes.

The Seminar will take stock of the current status of Social Audits and SAUs in terms of independency, funds, issues identified, actions taken etc. and will provide a platform for SAUs to share their experiences of conducting social audit.

Social Audit is recognized by many, including the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), as a powerful tool to enforce transparency and accountability. Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) was the first Act to mandate Social Audits by the Gram Sabha of all the projects taken up in the Gram Panchayat.

According to Section 17 of the MGNREGA, 2005: ‘The Gram Sabha shall conduct regular social audits of all the projects under the scheme taken up within the Gram Panchayat’. MGNREGA Audit of Schemes Rules was passed by the Central Government, in consultation with the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) in 2011.

In addition to MGNREGA, few States have taken up social audit of other schemes as well. Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G) audits are done in Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya and West Bengal. National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) audits are done in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.

Eight States have taken up Social Audit of 11 different schemes including Pradhan Mantri Aawas Yojana-Gramin (PMAY-G), Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meals (MDM).