Daily News Analysis

Social Audit  

23rd November, 2021 Polity

Figure 2: No Copyright Infringement Intended

Context:

  • The concept of social audit is being extended to more departments and the government schemes in Rajasthan.
  • The schemes being audited through the process at present include the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Swachh Bharat Mission, National Social Assistance Programme and the Central Finance Commission’s 14th and 15th grants to the State.
  • a decision had been taken to involve the members of women’s self-help groups, volunteers of Nehru Yuva Kendras and the village-level workers of Women’s Development Programme, known as 'Sathins', in the social audit exercises.

About Social Audit

  • 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.
  • It is a technique to understand, measure, verify, report on and to improve the social performance of the organization.
  • Social auditing creates an impact upon governance.
  • It values the voice of stakeholders, including marginalized/poor groups whose voices are rarely heard. Social auditing is taken up for the purpose of enhancing local governance, particularly for strengthening accountability and transparency in local bodies.

Advantage of social audit:

  • It helps in Managing and measuring non-financial activities.
  • monitor internal and external consequences of the departments social and commercial interest
  • It leads to Understanding of the administrative system from the perspective of the people: How the process and rules affect the citizens for whom these systems have been developed.
  • It provides In-depth scrutiny and analysis of the working of the public utility vis a vis its social relevance.
  • Organisation can asses its social, economic and environmental impacts through social audit.
  • It act as tool of feedback which can lead to improvement in policy implementation.
  • It allows Verification of deliverables thus bringing focus on outcomes and outputs rather than inputs.
  • It is a Safeguards against corruption and frauds.

Limitation of Social audit:

  • It is Highly localised in nature. It is conducted at the gram sabha level and its findings cant be generalized in nature.
  • It has been Sproadic and adhoc in nature. Most of the social audit depends upon the will of executive to conduct.
  • Social audits haven’t resulted into penalizing the erring officer which has led to decline in interest of these audits.
  • documentation for the social audits do not provide consistent evidence.

 

Way Forward:

  • It should be brought into mainstream for all the social sector schemes
  • It Can be mainstreamed for undertaking compliance audit for all the social sector schemes related to rules, frauds and corruption.
  • Government should Facilitate CAG association with local auditors for certification of Gram Sabha accounts.
  • Government should Develop partnership with all the major social auditors and bring out the standard proceedure for social auditing
  • CAG should provide capacity building of social auditors
  • Synergy with CAG will help in dissemination of the role of CAG of India in appraisal and monitoring of public sector programme.
  • There is a need to Give recognition to the social auditors