Social Audit

Social auditing is a process by which an organizations/government undergo for a impact realization of its work by its stakeholders and take measures to improve its social performance. Social audit as a concept was envisaged by Charles Medawar in 1972.
A social audit on at ground level helps to narrow down the gaps between what is envisioned and what is outcome in reality. It helps the government to take citizen friendly measures, to improve the social performance of any welfare government efforts.
Social Auditing is quite different from the developmental auditing. While the social audit focuses the on-ground neglected issue and is citizen-centric, the developmental audit has a broader vision which aims towards higher GDP growth along with welfare programs. Development audit is concerned with ‘efficiency’ while the social audit is concerned with ‘effectiveness’.

SOCIAL AUDIT IN INDIA

Social audit were voluntarily carried out by the RTI activists, the RTI mechanism is limited and also consumes too much time. Thus dedicated Social Audit mechanism was required to empower the beneficiaries of government intensities to provide a first hand audit report about the effectiveness of the initiative.
Social audits were first made statutory in a 2005 Rural Employment Act and later under the MGNREGA Act government issued the Social Audit Rules in 2011.
Some Important Facts about Social Audit:
  • Social audits are supervised by autonomous bodies consisting of government and non-government representatives along with the local beneficiaries.
  • As per the 73rd Constitution Amendment Act, the Gram Sabha is empowered to conduct Social Audits.
  • As CAG does not have the jurisdiction to conduct auditing of Panchayati Raj Institutions, thus Social Audit can be helpful to keep checks and balances on the third tier of governance.
  • However, their is no dedicated ministry or department in the government to monitor and regulate the social auditing processes through out the country.
    Women should be heard on the schemes and programs being implemented on Women and Child Develepoment.
It is largely believed that the Gram Sabha is the most appropriate institutional level for social audit following the bottom up approach. A Social Audit portal is required to collect the reports of the findings of the Social Audit exercise and pass it to the Policy formulators to improvise.
Meghalaya became first state in India to implement ‘ The Meghalaya (Community Participation and Public Services) Social Audit Act, 2017’, as law that makes social audit of government schemes and programmes as part of governance.

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