Gist of Editorials: Making Every Citizen an Auditor (The Hindu) | GS – II

Social audits of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) have failed to take off due to lack of funds. Like the Rural Development Ministry, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution should give funds to the SAUs and ask them to facilitate the social audits of the NFSA.

Relevance : GS Paper II
(Polity and Governance/Development and Welfare)

[700 words reduced to 200]

  • Social audits lead to better outcomes of public programmes.
  • Origin and evolution of social audits
    • Social audits were first mandated by law in 2005 under MGNREGA.
    • Subsequently, social audits were mandated in other areas as well.
    • Social audit units (SAUs) have been established in 26 States .
    • More than 5,000 full-time staff have been appointed and more than 4,000 people have been trained.
  • Shortcoming in the social audits programme:
    • Social audit units (SAUs) are not independent.
    • States have not appointment of SAU’s director properly.
    • Some States have conducted very few or no audit.
    • Several states do not have adequate staff.
    • States have responded to the social audit findings poorly.
    • Adequate disciplinary action are not being taken.
  • The way forward
    • Funds to facilitate social audits of the NFSA.
    • Independent governing body and adequate staff of SAUs.
    • Prompt action on the social audit findings.
    • A real time management information system for tracking.
    • Mentoring and support
    • Partnership of CAG with local citizens and audit societies
  • As social audits are to extend to new areas, they must be implemented well.


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