SOCIAL AUDIT AND THE NREGAA USERS MANUAL Centre for Equity Studies Sponsored by National Institute of Rural Development With the support of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan
What is a Social Audit ? A social audit is a process in which the people work with the government to monitor and evaluate the planning and implementation of a scheme or programme, or indeed of a policy or law. The social audit process is critically dependent on the demystification and wide dissemination of all relevant information.
How is it related to other types of audits? There are at least three types of audits: Government Audit People’s Audit Social Audit Government audit – usually by professional auditors without significant involvement of affected people. • Assesses primarily procedural integrity and outputs, • Little ability to get public perceptions or verify outcome.
How is it related to other types of audits? • People’s audits- conducted by the people, sometimes with assistance from movements and NGOs, with a standing invitation to the government. • Can get public perception, local knowledge and public verification. • Can assess outcomes and priorities. • However, low acceptance of findings among governments.
How is it related to other types of audits? • Social audit- conducted jointly by the government and the people, especially by those people who are affected by, or are the intended beneficiaries of, the scheme being audited. • Can bring on board the perceptions and knowledge of the people, • can look at outcomes and not just outputs, • Can involve the people in the task of verification, • Also, much greater acceptability by the government.
The ideal scenario • Government audit remains the basic audit, but becomes more transparent and participatory. • Social audit conducted in addition for certain types of schemes and activities, especially those involving huge and/or disaggregated expenditure. • Public audit selectively where the auditing process seems to have failed.
The Scope of a Social Audit • A social audit is conducted over the life span of a scheme or programme, and not just in one go or at one stage. • It audits the process, the outputs and the outcome • It audits planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
Elements of a Social Audit • Raising awareness of rights, entitlements and obligations under a scheme. • Specifically, about the right to participate in a social audit. • Ensuring that all forms and documents are user friendly. • Ensuring all relevant information is accessible, displayed and read out.
Elements of a Social Audit • Ensuring that the decision making process is transparent, participatory and, as far as possible, carried out in the presence of the affected persons. • Ensuring that all decisions, and their rationale, are made public as soon as they are made. • Ensuring that measurements, certification and inspection involves the affected people on a random and rotational basis.
Elements of a Social Audit • Ensuring that there are regular (six monthly) public hearings (jan audit manch) where the scheme and the process of social auditing is publicly analysed. • Ensuring that the findings of social audits are immediately acted upon. • Also ensuring that these findings result in the required systemic changes.
Socially Auditing the NREGA In order to develop a social audit protocol for the NREGA, it is necessary to identify the distinct stages (or sets of entitlements) involved. These are: • Registration and receipt of job cards. • Applying for work, getting work in time or receiving unemployment allowance. • Participating in the identification of projects and sites, approval of technical estimates and issuing of work order.
Socially Auditing the NREGA • Participation in the supervision and measurement/evaluation of work. • Disbursement of full wages, on time. • For each of these steps (or entitlements), identify the vulnerabilities and dangers. • For each of these vulnerabilities, determine and design the social auditing method most appropriate and fix institutional responsibilities and time frames. A tentative outline, for discussion, follows
A. Registration and receipt of job cards Some Vulnerabilities and Dangers • Denial of registration to eligible families. • Incomplete list of family members. • Registration/issuance of job cards to ineligible/bogus families/individuals. • Asking for bribes for registration/job cards. • Delay in job cards. • Non-issuance of job cards.
A. Registration and receipt of job cards Social Audit measures by government(to be specified in rules) (Responsibility: Gram Sewak/ GP Secretary) • Registration initially in a special gram sabha called for the purpose. preceded by survey of eligible families and family members. • Details of households registered read out. • List open for inspection at Gram Panchayat (GP) office and updated every 3 months
A. Registration and receipt of job cards • Registration to remain perpetually open. • Registration at GP in prescribed form A1 (photocopies allowed) received against signed and dated receipts. • Obligation of the registration official to assist in completing registration form, even after oral request.
A. Registration and receipt of job cards Social Audit measures by the people • The people must attend all such gram sabhas in large numbers and be vigilant. • They must protest if either ineligible people are being registered or given job cards, or eligible ones are being denied. • They must check the authenticity of all the information that is recorded and verify all lists and registers. • They must regularly check whether the lists and registers are being updated as required.
B. Applying for work, getting work in time or receiving unemployment allowance Some Vulnerabilities and Dangers • Non-acceptance of work application by the relevant functionary • The wrong date or no date recorded on the work application. • Giving out-of-turn allotments for work. • Favouring or discriminating against people in allotting type/location of work. • Not respecting the gender quota. • Not informing the applicant and then showing him/her as absent.
B. Applying for work, getting work in time or receiving unemployment allowance Vulnerabilities and dangers contd…. • Demanding money for allotting work/unemployment allowance • Denial of unemployment allowance by wrongly accusing a person for not reporting to work • Late payment of unemployment allowance • Payment of unemployment allowance to the wrong person • Payment of unemployment allowance to non-existent (ghost) persons.
B. Applying for work, getting work in time or receiving unemployment allowance Social Audit measures by government(to be specified in rules) (Responsibility: Sarpanch, Gram Sewak, Programme Officer) • Work applications receivable by post or by hand at GP or with programme officer (PO), on signed and dated receipt. • Applications can be on plain paper specifying number of days of work required, starting date(s), date of request & job card number. • Failure to accept application or issue proper receipt actionable (within 7 days) under section 23 & 25 of the act.
B. Applying for work, getting work in time or receiving unemployment allowance Govt. measures contd… • An application register (B1) open to inspection by the public during working hours. • Copies of work orders on GP notice boards. • Employment register (B2) open to inspection at GP. • Monthly day for disbursing NREGA information. This could also be treated as the rozgar divas.
B. Applying for work, getting work in time or receiving unemployment allowance • Details of those registered, given job cards, allotted work, given unemployment allowance to be read out and publicly displayed (B3). • Also used to explain the details of the scheme including the entitlements and obligations, the norms and procedures. • Also to answer queries and deal with issues and complaints.
B. Applying for work, getting work in time or receiving unemployment allowance Social Audit measures by the people • Insist on a written and dated receipt for work application. • If application is refused, or correctly dated receipt not given, or neither work nor unemployment allowance given in the prescribed period, then a complaint must be made to the district programme officer, and followed up. • The monthly meetings must be attended in large numbers and grievances addressed and information checked and verified.
C. Participating in the identification of projects and sites, approval of technical estimates and issuing of work order Some Vulnerabilities and Dangers • Selection of a low priority or inappropriate work. • Selection of work that serves a vested interest. • Lack of public participation/ consultation for selecting work/sites. • Exaggerated/ inaccurate technical estimates. • Inclusion, in estimate, of unnecessary expenditure. • Excessive rates and material. • Unclear work order that does not make the details of the work clear/leaves scope for mis-interpretation.
C.Participating in the identification of projects and sites, approval of technical estimates and issuing of work order Social Audit measures by government(to be specified in rules) (Responsibility: Sarpanch, Junior Engineer) • The shelf of possible works to be determined and prioritised by the gram sabha; list publicly displayed. • The technical estimates/work orders must be summarised for lay persons and publicly displayed at GP(C1) and work site (C2).
C. Participating in the identification of projects and sites, approval of technical estimates and issuing of work order Social Audit measures by the people • The people should ensure that the projects/works/sites selected are as per their wishes and reflect their priority. • The people must participate and ensure that the estimates are realistic, that the rates being quoted are as per local availability and that no unnecessary items of expenditure are being included. • The people need to remain vigilant and check the final estimate and work order to ensure that they are in accordance with what was collectively decided.
D. Participation in the supervision and measurement/evaluation of work. Some Vulnerabilities and Dangers • Recording of ghost works/ workers. • Work not conforming to specifications/ standards • Supply of less than sanctioned/poor quality materials and tools. • Taking or recording of improper measurements • Not consolidating the information regarding the works in one place. • Issuing of false completion certificates • Data recorded in a confusing/ incomprehensible manner.
D. Participation in the supervision and measurement/evaluation of work. Social Audit measures by government(to be specified in rules) (Responsibility: Mate, Gram Sewak, Junior Engineer) • Mate (site manager) shall maintain work site book (D) containing formats of muster roll, consolidation sheet, stock register, measurement book, technical estimate & work sanction, vigilance committee inspection report. • A copy of the work file, as per the prescribed format, would also be available with mate for public inspection. • Sample of materials can be accessed in accordance with the prescribed procedure.
D. Participation in the supervision and measurement/evaluation of work. Social Audit measures by the people • Must periodically verify the information on the board and in the muster rolls. • Must also periodically ensure that the work is going as per the sanction/work order; must take random samples of the material. • Must participate in the verification and assessment exercise, and ensure that the work done conforms with what was commissioned and is of use to the people
E. Disbursement of full wages, on time. Some Vulnerabilities and Dangers • Non-payment of wages • Late payment of wages. • Under payment of wages. • Payment of wages to the wrong person. • Payment of wages in the name of non-existent (Ghost) workers. • Payment of wages for non-existent projects.
E. Disbursement of full wages, on time. Social Audit measures by government(to be specified in rules) (Responsibility: Independent Institution??) • Payments will be made by an agency independent of the implementing agency. • Payments will be made collectively at a public place. • The pay order shall be read aloud. • Disclosure of piece rate measurement will be made individually, and not en masse.
Additional Rules • Disposal of Complaints • Conduct of Jan Audit Manch Thank You