Bihar State’s Rural Development Minister Nitish Mishra has announced that an independent Social Audit Directorate will become functional in the state from April 1. It will oversee the audit of all welfare schemes run by the state government.
Mishra said, "The social audit will not just bring greater transparency and accountability in MNREGA’s execution but will also improve people’s participation in the scheme. Social audit needs to be done in every gram panchayat every six months with the help of voluntary organisations and MNREGA workers and panchayat officials."
200 gram panchayats have been selected for the first phase of the social audit which will commence on February 2 with the formation of social audit teams in every panchayat.
The first social audit programme will conclude on February 19 with a state level communication and interaction. So far, only 10 other states in India have a social audit directorate.
"MNREGA Audit of Schemes Rules 2011 provides for regular social audit and I want all audit reports to be made available in the public domain. We will see if it can be uploaded to the website of the department in the districts," the Minister added.
Mishra acknowledged a number of shortcomings in the MNREGA implementation in the state. He asked MNREGA officials to finish the pending work of the current financial year in the next two-and-a-half months as funds had come from the Centre and the state had also released its matching amount.
The department officials were asked to conduct social audit at public places besides advertising the schedule to ensure maximum participation of people.