ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Social Audit Units

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Social audit units (SAUs) are government-led registered societies that have been issued specific guidelines and standards for their independence. While the SAU guidelines mandate independence, ethics and professionalism in their functioning, are these really working? When the government dictates that saus behave in a particular way, effectively stifling any alternative voices, everyone wants to play safe. Is this situation of curtailed independence, or independence in instalments, a contradiction?

Social audits were first mandated by law in 2005 under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Subsequently, Parliament, the Supreme Court and many central ministries mandated social audits in other areas as well. The National Food Security Act, 2013 and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 also mandate social audits. This is a progressive step taken by the government to ensure transparency at the grass-roots level. Apart from these acts, a few schemes—the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), Swachh Bharat Mission, as well as the Fourteenth Finance Commission and others—have mandated that social audits be conducted twice a year as well. Recently, juvenile homes have also been covered under the ambit of social audits.

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Updated On : 8th Mar, 2019

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