The concept of social audit is being extended to more departments and the government schemes in Rajasthan in an attempt to ensure transparency and accountability in the utilisation of funds. The civil society activists have made a significant contribution to the audit process and suggested measures for an effective check on the executive action.

The first social audit dialogue was held here earlier this week under the aegis of the State government’s Society for Social Audit, Accountability and Transparency (SSAAT). The event, organised at Indira Gandhi Panchayati Raj and Gramin Vikas Sansthan, provided an opportunity to the stakeholders to identify the difficulties in social audit and recommend solutions.

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.

Rural Development Secretary K.K. Pathak said at the dialogue that 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.

More participation

Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) leader and right to information activist Nikhil Dey said the social audit process should be improved with the participation of more stakeholders in order to make it an integral part of governance.