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Audit of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme
October, 07th 2009

There's a lot of hustle and bustle in Bhilwara, parliamentary constituency of Union minister CP Joshi, these days. The social audit of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) entered the sixth day on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, a team comprising 20 physically-challenged members from nine states reached the Govardhanpura Panchayat to get a hang of things and the working methodology of panchayats and to explore their possible contribution in village development work through NREGA.

Thanks to NREGA, 35 Bhil tribal families which used to migrate to different parts of the country in search of jobs, are now settled in their village and are engaged in projects under the NREGS.

Said to be the biggest social audit programme in India, spanning over 381 panchayats, covering more than a thousand villages in the Bhilwara district of Rajasthan, the social audit began on September 30. More than 2,000 people are participating in this process. India is the first country to perform this kind of an exercise at such a massive level.

About 136 teams of social auditors have been pressed into service. They are visiting the villages to take account of the implementation of Rural Employment guarantee Act. In each of these panchayats, a detailed account of NREGA work will be taken and audit conducted.

The social audit being organised by the government with the help of voluntary organisations and peoples' campaign groups such as Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan and Soochna Evam Rozgar Adhikar Abhiyan.

Despite this huge exercise, the mandatory information on NREGA was not made public at most places. Only 11 gram panchayats were the lucky ones to have the information boards with all the required documents. A team from the social audit group, met the district collector Manju Rajpal and expressed concern over the "lack of" information and asked the authorities to take steps.

In Suvana, Mandal and Asind panchayats, the social audit team found out that at the NREGA work sites information boards were displayed but no information regarding payment of wages, required materials etc were displayed. Complaints of no job cards and delayed payments were also made by labourers in certain places.

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