[2014 update] Social audit


Since 2009 JJSS has been using Social Audit (SA) as an effective participatory tool to bring in transparency and accountability in various govt. schemes for the poor. Large numbers of volunteers have been trained in SA mechanism in Bihar. You are already aware of our past efforts of SA in MNREGA, ICDS and Old Age Pension schemes. This year we did audit of one Aanganwadi centre in Araria RS where some of our full time karyakartas live.

Ranjit, used the RTI Act to get all relevant documents.  Then JJSS members along with local community members spent around 4 days verifying information about AWC No. 308 (Ward No. 6, Araria), sevika Sarita Rani and conducted a very successful audit. Since then Madhulika Swami (kamayani’s mother) and Anjali Devi have started spending lot of time with the children of the aaganwadi which has led to substantial improvement.

On the day of the meeting held on 31st July, 2014 the following was done:

  • Information was given on the 6 basic services that are to be provided at the centre
  • Beneficiaries and their family members deposed on the services being provided, based on these depositions and days spent by the team before the public meeting proof was presented which showed that there were gross irregularities at the centre. These included no cooked meal everyday, non-opening of centre everyday, distribution of less THR than documented in AWC documents etc.
  • The Anganwadi sevika accepted her lapses and promised to improve her working.

The following resolutions were passed at the meeting by the sevika and all present:

  • The current Poshahar Kriyanvayan Vitaran Samiti (PKVS), the committee responsible for community monitoring of the Centre, is constituted only of close relatives of the sevika, therefore it shall be dissolved and a new committee will be constituted on Independence Day at 9am, after the flag hoisting ceremony.
  • Full share of THR rations will be distributed from August, 2014 based on beneficiary description.
  • The sevika will provide list of beneficiaries to JJSS representative Arvind Paswan, so that the 15th August Aam Sabha can be called based on this list.
  • We will all strive till 15th September to improve the functioning of the Kendra through community efforts and if improvement is not seen action on the Sevika will be demanded based on documentary proof of corruption and irregularities at the Aanganwadi Centre.

However, without any consultation, the Bihar Social Welfare department changed the PKVS to the Bal Vikas Samiti and took the signatory power from parent’s and gave it to the local head master. It was a shock, but petitions to the Social Welfare Department were of no avail.

Further on Social Audits:

Audit in Bhutan: The Anti-Corruption Commission of Bhutan invited MKSS and SSAAT (AP) to train them in social audit process. Ashish Ranjan and Arvind Paswan of JJSS were part of the team that visited Bhutan. Read more about the Bhutan Experience in a BBC story here

Audits in Bihar: This year we have been approached by Govt. of Bihar to help with a state wide Social Audit of MNREGA scheme in every district of Bihar. Ashish Ranjan of JJSS is part of the core group that is planning the process.

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