Directorate to overhaul social auditing

But now, the system is going to witness some qualitative change as it has been decided to form a separate Directorate for Social Auditing (MGNREGS) with the aim of keeping the auditing system independent and insulated from external influences. The new directorate is likely to be in place by March next year, and a complete systematisation is expected to happen with the setting up of the directorate.

The drafters of NREGA had tried their best to keep social auditors away from the influence of the implementing agencies (the zilla panchayats and the chief executive officers) as auditors had to judiciously point out the lapses and mistakes of the agencies.

Unfortunately, due to the lack of planning auditors ended up working as subordinates of the ZP CEOs. Noticing this, the director of NREGS sent a team to Andhra Pradesh to study the social auditing system, which has been successful there.

The first recommendation made by the study team was to form a separate directorate to keep the social auditing system away from NREGS and ZP officials.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, NREGS Director P Shivshankar said people had lost faith in the auditing system as there was no benefit from it. “Our aim is to repose the faith by bringing in effective auditing, timely follow up and take the case to its logical end,” he said.

Audit will be conducted for three months and the follow up will be conducted during next three months. Every 13 gram panchayats will have a taluk co-ordinator and a social auditor will spend six days in every GP auditing the works.

Once the complaints on discrepancies are received, the directorate will bifurcate the complaints into two categories –– procedural mistakes, which will be forwarded to the CEOs concerned, and fraud cases that will be forwarded to the ombudsman. The action taken report will be placed before the people at the GP level.

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