Social audit is an effective instrument of citizen centric governance to fight corruption. Discuss along with the mechanisms of social audit in India.

Social audit is an effective instrument of citizen centric governance to fight corruption. Discuss along with the mechanisms of social audit in India.

Approach

  • Introduce with social audit.
  • Discuss the significance of social audit and its role to fight corruption.
  • Then, give social audit mechanism in India.
  • Conclude with suggestions.
Model Answer :

A social audit is a way of measuring, understanding, reporting and ultimately improving an organization’s social and ethical performance. A social audit helps to narrow gaps between vision/goal and reality, between efficiency and effectiveness. Civil society organizations (CSOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), political representatives, civil servants and local people collectively organize such social audits.

Importance of social audit as tool of citizen centric governance:

  • It values the voice of stakeholders, including marginalized/poor groups whose voices are rarely heard.
  • It also trains the community on participatory local planning.
  • It strengthens accountability and transparency in local bodies.
  • It involves those people in developmental activities for whom schemes are targeted, thus reducing corruption.
  • It promotes collective decision making and shared responsibilities.
  • It develops human resources and social capital by educating them.

Various mechanisms of social audit in India are:

  • The 73rd amendment of the Indian Constitution empowers the gram sabhas to conduct Social Audits in addition to its other functions.
  • Social audits were made statutory for the first time in National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005.
  • Recently, Meghalaya became the first state in India to operationalize a law that makes social audit of government programmes and schemes a part of government practice.

Way Forward:

Social audit strengths the democracy by empowering citizens. But there is no mechanism in India for its effective implementation. Powers to audit NGOs, summon ministers and former secretaries and a monitoring mechanism for following up the effective implementation of the recommendations are some of the proposals of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the auditing reforms.

Subjects : Governance

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