Social Audit law

Social audit is a process of reviewing official records and determining whether state reported expenditures reflect the actual money spent on the ground.

Civil society organizations (CSOs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), political representatives collectively organize such social audits to prevent mass corruption.

Social audits of government programmes have been done at the initiative of civil society organizations. These social audits had no official sanction. However 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.

The legislation is applicable to 11 departments and 21 schemes. The legislation provides a legal framework for allowing citizens’ participation in the planning of development, selection of beneficiaries, concurrent monitoring of programmes, redress of grievances, and audit of works, services, and programmes on an annual basis.

Benefits

• It will make it easier to correct course as the scheme is rolling along; the audit is not after all the money has been spent.
• It gives people a direct say in how money will be spent and fills an information gap for officers as they are directly in touch with the ground.
• Social audits have been civil society initiatives rather than government-mandated. It makes it government responsibility.

Procedure

A social audit facilitator will be appointed to conduct the audit directly with the people. He will present findings to the Gram Sabha, who will add inputs and the result will finally go to the auditors.

Practice Question:

1) Which of the following state has passed the first Social Audit Law in India?

a) Karnataka

b) Manipur

c) Meghalaya

d) Tamil Nadu

Ans: c