Social Audit

Social Audit

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• Social Audits are mandatory as per the 73rd Constitutional Amendment in 1993, through which the Village communities are empowered to conduct social audit of all development work in their respective villages and the concerned authorities are duty bound to facilitate them*
• Constitutional amendments in 1992-93 for local self government which introduced provisions for accounts to be placed before the gram sabha and municipal wards are a revealing pointer to the need for accountability, not to a hierarchy of officialdom or representatives of the people but increasingly to people themselves, since they are the only stakeholders**
• Social Audit is a process in which, details of the resource, both financial and non-financial, used by public agencies for development initiatives are shared with the people, often through a public platform. Social Audits allow people to enforce accountability and transparency, providing the ultimate users an opportunity to scrutinize development initiatives*
• Social audit as a term was used as far back as the 1950s. There has been a flurry of activity and interest in the last seven to eight years in India and neighboring countries. Voluntary development organizations are also actively concerned***
• The key difference between development and social audit is that a social audit focuses on the neglected issue of social impacts, while a development audit has a broader focus including environment and economic issues, such as the efficiency of a project or programme***
• Social audit can also be used for auditing the performance of all three PRI tiers with a social audit committee at each level. These committees should not be permanent, but can be set up depending on the nature of programmes/schemes to be audited***
• Article 17 (2) of the NREGA says “the gram sabha shall conduct regular social audits of all the projects under the Scheme taken up within the Gram Panchayat”. Article 17 (3) says “the Gram Panchayat shall make available all relevant documents including the muster rolls, bills, vouchers, measurement books, copies of sanction orders and other connected books of account and papers to the gram sabha for the purpose of conducting the social audit.”#


* Vision Foundation (2005) Social Audit-Gram Sabha and Panchayati Raj-document, submitted to the Planning Commission, GoI, October
** Social Audit by Amitabh Mukhopadhyay, Seminar
*** Srivastava, KG and Datta, Chandan, 
# Sinha, Rajesh Kumar: Accountability in Rural Wage Employment Programmes in India: Case of Social Audit in NREGA,

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