Publication: Activating Social Audits in Orissa
With the passing of the National Rural Employment Act (NREGA) in 2005, the Government of India established a landmark provision that enables communities to act as watchdogs on local level implementation of the Government's flagship anti-poverty program. While the concept of 'social audits' builds on a great deal of experience in the country, the provisions in the Act have not been translated into clear guidelines. As a result, social audits of NREGA have tended to be driven through 'high impact' approaches led by civil society organizations and have been focused on exposing malpractice rather than improving implementation. This paper discusses an initiative by the centre for youth and social development which sought to explore options to activate the social audit process in Orissa. The design draws on the provisions of the Act with a view to developing a sustainable model for the state. The pilot was conducted in six gram panchayats where the various stages of preparation, committee formation, auditing and reporting were developed. The paper highlights the importance of social audits as an instrument to support implementation, and in particular of raising awareness and ensuring clarity regarding the roles of various stakeholders. Taking this process forward demands a long term perspective, based on collaboration between the government and civil society that can develop the capacities of beneficiaries to ensure effective implementation at the local level.
“World Bank. 2009. Activating Social Audits in Orissa. © Washington, DC. http://openknowledge.worldbank.org/entities/publication/4bb0db93-78e9-56a9-a50e-d93373ec7841 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”