Social audit as a term was used as far back as the 1950s. In a nutshell, it refers to the steps that are taken to ensure that the work done by the government is actually benefiting the people whom it is intended to benefit. It is based on the principle that the local governance should be carried out, as much as possible, with the consent and in complete understanding of the requirements of the people concerned. It is a process and not an event. Thus, Social Audit is nothing but understanding, measuring, reporting, and most importantly improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the local governance.
India being a welfare state, several programs and policies are implemented for the benefit of people. Politicians and executives are usually the ones who control and implement these policies. Some policies are common to all and some are special that are meant to benefit the weaker sections of the society. To implement all such policies, funds are drawn from the state exchequer. The social control over withdrawal and usage of this fund is called Social Audit.
Definition by Prof. Ranjan Mohapatra of VISION foundation
Social Audit is a process in which the details of the resources, financial and non-financial, used by the public agencies for the development initiatives, are shared with the people, often through a public platform. It allows people to enforce transparency and accountability, thereby providing the ultimate users an opportunity to scrutinize the development initiatives.
Basis of social audit
The main reason for the push for social audit is the huge disconnect between what the people need, what the government thinks it needs, and what is actually done. This lack of communication is represented by the following diagram in figure . Figure 2 explains the situation with social audit.
Objectives of Social Audit
1. Accurate identification of requirements
2. Prioritization of...