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Social audit of development schemes necessary
February, 05th 2010

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, the countrys supreme audit institution, Friday suggested social audit of all government-sponsored development schemes, like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), to ensure that the intended benefits reach the poor.

CAG Vinod Rai said the institution seeks partnership of NGOs and other social groups to ensure transparency in schemes and effective utilisation of welfare funds.

It is high time that civil society organisations should enter into partnership with government agencies to facilitate transparency in expending of welfare funds, Rai said at a lecture here on the role of civil society in good governance.

He said the 50,000-odd employees working under him and few lakh working for the offices of state accountant generals were inadequate for the huge volume of public funds expenditure auditing that had to be done.

So civil society organisations had to step in to assist them.

Social audit would empower people by facilitating them with a say in the development process itself. It would also make the bureaucracy and those manning the panchayat raj institutions accountable for the money spent on works in tune with the specific needs of people.

Rai said: The RTI (right to information) act is the most effective weapon and a deterrent to make them accountable.

The RTI act was a tool that each member of the civil society could use for greater transparency. The social audit would also make the economy inclusive of deprived sections, he said.

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