The Meghalaya example

The Meghalaya example

Social audit

Article:

  1. The authors, Sampath Kumar, Commissioner and Secretary, Government of Meghalaya and RakshitaSwamy describes about the importance of social audits, which acts as a strong tool for community participation and grievance redress.

Analysis:

  1. Background:
  2. In April, 2017, Meghalaya became the first State India to pass social audit legislation.
  3. The legislation is known as the Meghalaya Community Participation and Public Services Social Audit Act.
  4. Later, the Meghalaya government decided to pilot social audits in a campaign mode.
  5. Eighteeen villages representing Garo, Khasi and Jaintia Hills were selected for the pilot.
  6. The purpose of social audits are:
  7. Citizen participation in the planning, implementation and monitoring of programmes;
  8. Detecting beneficiaries who were eligible, but had been left out;
  9. Sharing information about schemes, and enhancing awareness amongst people about their entitlements;
  10. Recording people’s testimonies;
  11. Identifying priorities for inputs for planning;
  12. registering of grievances;
  13. Identifying systemic shortcomings; and
  14. Recording financial and procedural irregularities and deviations between fact and record.
  15. Audits helped identify and bring about evidence-based policy changes.
  16. In India, there is a growing acknowledgement of social audits as a credible means of institutionalising citizen oversight. There is an urgent need to come up with a working protocol for facilitating social audits across a range of interventions.
  17. The Meghalaya pilots would have help to formulate a practical framework through which that can be done.
  18. Civil society needs to shape the social audit campaign, be a watchdog, and staunchly protect the independence of the process. Social audits must become part of the demand for effective legislation for the whole country.
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