Social Audit 2011

ICDS and MNREGA Social Audits: An exhilarating and tiring experience

This is the second year that the Araria district administration organised special social audits along with civil society groups, the JJSS, Advisor Right to Food Commissioner (Bihar), Action Aid and the PHRN. And of course like last year a large number of young students, more women than men, joined in as volunteers. Over 50 volunteers passed through the entire exercise which lasted about two months.

Public Hearing Aurahi

The Social Audits focused on the Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) and the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). One audit in one panchayat each of each of the nine blocks of Araria was done. In each panchayat two separate teams were formed to focus on MNREGA and ICDS separately. Though social audits are mandated in the MNREGA there is no such provision in the ICDS and therefore the entire exercise was both a challenge and also a very fruitful experience, as the
opaqueness of the system is fairly high. The SA exercise
started with a district level training on 25th May, 2011 and the last audit public hearing was held on 27th July, 2011 and report writing continued for another three months.

The following extract from the JJSS letter to the Minister Social Welfare, Government of Bihar (dtd 27th September, 2011), clearly summarises the ICDS findings:


SA summary of the ICDS:The nine social audits clearly showed that there is a high level of misappropriation of funds in the distribution of take home rations (THR) in each of the nine panchayats.

Bhargama Public Hearing

  1. The overall fraud percentage in distribution of the THR was found to be 58%, i.e. for every 100Kgs of rations claimed as given to beneficiaries in Araria district, only 42Kgs actually reaches them. (Please see attachment 1: Summary of THR funds misappropriated across 9 panchayats of Araria district).
  2. The SA team also found many weaknesses in the running of the health and pre-school components, which are also discussed in the reports being given to you.
  3. We feel stern action, on those involved in misappropriation of funds, would go a long way in ensuring a better run network of Anganwadi centres in our villages.
  4. d.      We also feel that action should not be limited to the sevikas, but extend to officers like the CDPO & the Lady Supervisor (LS), for taking bribe money (where such statements were given) and also gross negligence in monitoring the AWCs run in these panchayats.


People reading the "hisab" "kitab" of their panchayat

However, despite our assertion that action should not be limited to sevikas, the only action so far has been that 78 sevikas have been dismissed, we sincerely hope this is just the beginning.

With regard to the MNREGA the social audit was combined with a survey and gave the team an opportunity to visit more than one panchayat in a block.  Below is excepts from the Press release held on 1st October 2011

मनरेगा विशेष सामाजिक अंकेक्षण / सर्वे के निष्कर्ष:

  • अररिया जिला के नौ प्रखंडों में से प्रत्येक में एक चयनित पंचायत में विशेष सामाजिक अंकेक्षण / सर्वे किया गया.  2010-11 में किये गए कार्यों का विशलेषण किया गया.
  • मजदूरी के  भुगतान और डाक विभाग के माध्यम से किये जानेवाले भुगतान एक प्रमुख समस्या है: पिछले साल की तरह इस साल भी यह पाया गया कि लोगों के खाते से  बिना उनकी सहमति अथवा जानकारी के पैसे की निकासी हो गयी. देरी  से भुगतान मनरेगा में मजदूरों की भागीदारी को कमज़ोर कर रहा है. देरी  से भुगतान के लिए कोई हरजाना भी नहीं दिया जा रहा है.
  • उपर्युक्त समस्याओं के बावजूद, इस वर्ष काम के पैमाने में वृद्धी और पारदर्शिता के नियमों के अनुपालन में कुछ स्वीकारात्मक बदलाव दिखाई दिए:
    • 44% कार्यस्थालों पर बोर्ड पाए गए जो पारदर्शिता के लिए आवश्यक हैं. (पिछले साल के अंकेक्षण में केवल 27% कार्यस्थालों पर बोर्ड पाए गए  थे)
    • अधिकतर पंचायतों में 20 लाख से अधिक लागत के कार्य आयोजित किये गए, यद्यपि इन का कार्यान्वयन अभी भी एक समस्या है
    • पिछले साल के अंकेक्षण में यह नज़र आया था कि 2009-10 में किये गए मनारेगा कार्यों में 74 में से 9  कार्य ज़मीनी स्तर पर किये ही नहीं गए थे (ghost works). पर इस साल के अंकेक्षण में ऐसा कोई कार्य नहीं पाया गया.
    • पिछले साल के अंकेक्षण में जोकीहाट प्रखंड की चौकता पंचायत और नरपतगंज प्रखंड की भंगाही पंचायत में ghost works पाए गए थे पर इस साल जो एक कार्य इन पंचायतों में देखा गया, उसमें मस्टररोल में कोई धोकाधडी नहीं पाई गयी
  • सामाजिक वानिकी की योजनाओं के  क्रियान्वयन की स्तिथि बहुत बुरी है. इस का मुख्य कारण वनपोषक(care taker) के चुनाव में पारदर्शिता का अभाव तथा भ्रष्टाचार है .

For detailed reports please see the reports uploaded by Vibhore, a dedicated volunteer with the SA team.

One additional advantage of doing the ICDS social audits was that our entire team, now actually understands the ICDS functioning and the sangathan has been able to bring out a parcha (leaflet) on the anganwadi centres, and what they are meant to achieve and deliver. We hope that the JJSS will be able to work on the issue of the ICDS even in our villages, long after the SA taste is gone.

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