After social audit, the Government of India will now conduct countrywide quality audit of the work done under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
While the social audit was done by state government officials, the quality audit will be done by institutional auditors, giving a more professional outlook to the entire exercise.
The Centre has chosen two districts from each state, which have been marked as the best and the worst districts in terms of implementation. In UP, Meerut in western part of the state has been chosen as the best district while Mahoba in Bundelkhand region has been chosen as the worst district.
The Union Ministry of Rural Development has already decided upon the Terms of Reference (TOR) for the quality audit and has invited request for proposal. The officials of the ministry said the quality audit will serve as a major tool for them to identify the problems, the gaps and the best practices under the scheme at a time when it is undergoing a change.
Talking to The Indian Express, the Secretary, Rural Development (GOI), BK Sinha said, We are in the process of identifying the gaps in the implementation of the scheme and before we go any further, it is important that we should be doing audits of whatever has been done so far. Hence, we will be conducting these quality audits. We will use the services of institutional auditors, who will be given guidelines by us, to ensure fair auditing.
The institutional auditors include government engineering colleges which offer agriculture engineering as a course and also private auditors who have the expertise in conducting such audits.
So far, in Mahoba, only 5,412 families have been given the work under the scheme. Total 2,269 taks have been initiated here, of which only 1,110 are completed.
While in Meerut, despite it not being one of the key focus districts, work has been given to 8,238 families. And of the total 2139 tasks, 1,927 tasks have been completed. The auditors will be conducting audit for the work done between 2006 and 2010 and the criteria will be primarily selection of the work site, layout, design and technical norms followed during the work.
Two villages from four blocks of each district would be chosen for the audit. The auditors will check six types of work including those which have been completed within the last six months, the works completed in last financial year, those completed a week ago and those which are currently underway.
The selected auditors will be given one-day training at the district level before they conduct the audits. The auditors will also interact with the job card labourers and get details about the number of the days they got work and the payment they received. The auditors will also document the best and the worst practices followed in the areas of their inspection.