What is Social Audit? While keeping powers and mandate of Gram Sabha in focus, throw light on various steps in social audit process in local bodies in India.
Social audit is a process wherein an organization / government undertakes periodic reviews and identifies grassroot problems in order to improve its future performance.
The 73rd Amendment of the Constitution empowered the Gram Sabhasto conduct Social Audits in addition to other functions. The most appropriate institutional level for social audit is the Gram Sabha, which has been given ‘watchdog’ powers and responsibilities by the Panchayati RajAct. The process involves:
- Identifying stakeholders and ensuring a say for all stakeholders, especially marginalized social groups.
- Performance Indicator data must be collected by stakeholders on a regular basis.
- Follow-up of social audit meeting with the Panchayat body.
- Establishment of a group consisting of elderly people, teachers and others, who are committed and independent, to be involved in the verification and to judge if the decisions based upon social audit have been implemented
The findings of the social audit should be shared with all local stakeholders, which encourage transparency and accountability.