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Revamping Social Audits:Ensuring Accountability &Credibility



  Sep 29, 2023

Social Audit



What is Social Audit?

A process where public records are scrutinized to verify the reported figures against actuals, focusing on transparency and accountability.

Why is it Important?

It helps in reducing corruption, improving governance, and ensuring efficient use of resources.

How Does it Work?

Independent social audit units flag instances of misappropriation, and it is then up to the State governments to recover the funds.

The Law on Social Audit

As per Section 17 of the MGNREGS Act, the gram sabha is supposed to "monitor the execution of works."

Current Issues

Ineffectiveness: Social audit units have recovered only a small fraction of the misappropriated funds.

Fund Crunch: These units have been starved of funds for nearly two years in some states.

Credibility at Stake: Poor recovery rates make the whole audit process appear futile, affecting the scheme's credibility.

Selective Oversight: States reporting "zero number of cases" and making "zero recoveries" include BJP-ruled States of Gujarat and Goa, and others.

Double-Edged Sword: States that do flag several cases are taken to task for not making the recovery.

Union Government's Role: Accused of weaponizing the lack of social audits to withhold funds for MGNREGS.

This alarming state of affairs suggests an urgent need for revamping the social audit system to ensure its efficacy and restore its credibility.


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