Social Audit in MGNREGA West Bengal


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This is a presentation by the West Bengal team in a recent Workshop on Social Audit at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. The State part is developed by the State team whereas the part concerning the field experience from Jalpaiguri was contributed by the MGNREGA Cell of Jalpaiguri District.

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Social Audit in MGNREGA West Bengal

  1. 1. Implementation of Social Audit under MGNREGA in West Bengal : a Status Report Date: Place:
  2. 2. 1. Progress made on setting up of Social Audit Directorate  In terms of Rule 4 of the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA (Audit of Schemes) Rules, 2011, as published by the Government of India, “Directorate of Transparency, Accountability and People’s Participation in Rural Development” is established at the Directorate of Panchayats & Rural Development  The Directorate is independent of the MGNREGA implementation structure in the State headed by the Commissioner, MGNREGS  The Commissioner of Panchayats & Rural Development (P&RD) is designated as the Director of social Audit
  3. 3. The Structure Department of P&RD Social Audit Directorate (Director, SA) Additional Director, SA State MGNREGA Cell (Commissioner, MGNREGS) Deputy Director, SA State Coordinator, SA
  4. 4. The Structure at the District level District SA Cell Additional District Magistrate, SA District Nodal Officer, SA District Coordinator, SA
  5. 5. The Structure at the Block level Block SA Cell Joint Block Dev. Officer, Block Nodal Officer, SA Block Coordinator, SA
  6. 6. The reporting mechanism Secretary, P&RD Director, SA DSAC BSAC
  7. 7. Funding SA State Directorate Account opened Budget prepared and shared Rs.20 lakh advanced District SA Cell Block SA Cell Fund allocated by the District NREGA Cell Fund allocated by the District NREGA Cell
  8. 8. Staffing SA Units Additional Director (not exclusive charge Deputy Director (not exclusive charge) Director (not exclusive charge) Directorate State Coordinator (exclusive/ On contract)
  9. 9. Issues related to staffing at the State level An Exclusive Director required One Training Facilitator required One MIS Coordinator required Efforts are to be made to enlist support of CSOs in Training/ Facilitation
  10. 10. Issues related to staffing at the District and Block levels • Since inception we have exclusive contractual staff at the District and Block levels (DSAC & BSAC in all districts and blocks) • Those staff are now brought into the fold of the SA Directorate • We may require Training Support organizations for facilitating training in the field
  11. 11. Pilot Social Audit • Team of Facilitators from three districts trained at NIRD – Jalpaiguri – Birbhum and – Hooghly • Pilot SA conducted in selected Gram Panchayats in all 3 blocks • Jalpaiguri extended the process in all Gram Panchayats of the district
  12. 12. Regular SA mechanism • Since inception the districts facilitate 2 rounds of SA in all Blocks • Calendars are prepared and adhered to • Group of Social Auditors are identified from each GP and placed for conducting SA after observing all processes – Inspection of records – Verification in the field – SA Gram Sabha
  13. 13. Changes in processes after the new system is introduced • SA teams are to be selected from outside respective GP • Massive orientation of the SA Team members are to be undertaken • Specific assignment plans and calendars are to be prepared for deployment of SA Teams for conducting SA
  14. 14. How to bring about the changes? • SA Directorate is to organize Training of Trainers – ToT already scheduled for all districts at the SIPRD – What about NGO association? • Districts are to identify members of the SA Teams • Members of the SA Teams are to be trained and deployed • All formats are to be designed and shared by the Directorate • Actual SA to be conducted by following the SA Rules
  15. 15. Important deviations noted Action taken or contemplated Awareness about statutory guarantee of wage employment under NREGA, as fall-back employment source and rights of the people under NREGA found to be poor among wage seekers. Awareness generation drives through campaigns, IEC materials have been initiated at village level. Block IEC Coordinators (#341)are responsible for drawing up action plan and implement initiatives at village level. In Some Gram Panchayats Job Cards Concerned Pos have been asked to of the wage seekers have been found lodge FIR/ take penal action under in the custody of others. section 25 of NREGA against the guilty. Some GPshave not taken initiatives of proactive disclosure of information and citizen information board at the worksite Concerned POs are to ensure compliance by GPs. Specific instructions are issued from the State.
  16. 16. Important deviations noted Action taken or contemplated Women are not empowered enough to demand wage employment under NREGA in some districts in particular. Instructions have been issued for orientation of women through Self Help Groups. In some Gram Panchayats obstacles have been faced in allotment of jobs during the peak period of wage demand under NREGA. The Districts have been asked to take the help of suitable NGOs to identify new kind of works admissible under the Act to provide for more job opportunities. Delayed payment of wages to the wage-seekers under NREGA due to insufficient manpower in Bank & Post Offices. Once e-FMS is in operation, the delay might be substantially reduced
  17. 17. Important deviations noted Action taken or contemplated After application for work in Concerned Programme from – 4A dated receipts have Officers have been asked to not been issued to applicant ensure compliance by GPs. in many cases. Work site facilities are unavailable in some cases. Concerned Programme Officers have been asked to ensure compliance by GPs.
  18. 18. Grievance Redressal through Social Audit  Rule relating to Grievance Redressal published in 2009  The salient features of the rule indicate the following:  Disposal of complaints within seven working days  For matter to be resolved by any other authority, the matter needs to be forwarded to that authority within seven working days with an intimation to the complainant  Provision of disposal of a complaint by the DPC within 30 working days  Maintenance of Complaint Register at each level of implementation  Provision of dated receipt to the person lodging the complaint  Display of action taken report at the Notice Board at the PO level  Provision of placing the status report of PO and that of the District at the meeting of the VMC of the District formed under the guidelines of the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India  The status report maintained at the State level to be deliberated at the meeting of the West Bengal State Employment Guarantee Council
  19. 19. Perceived benefits of Social Audit noted • Social Audit helped awareness generation, participation of people in the affairs of the governance and improve planning for implementation. • During implementation Monitoring through Social Audit ensured informed decision making, prompt corrective action and promote dissuading risks in implementation. • After implementation Evaluation of policy and programme effectiveness through social audit enhanced organizational and individual learning for future considerations. • Thus transparency, accountability and participation involved in social audit reinforce each other during the process and promote good governance.
  20. 20. Assistance/Facilitation required • Capacity Building of Social Audit team to verify all Documents, Resolution Book, Bills, Vouchers, Muster Roll related to the particular schemes and prepare social audit report requires additional resource allocation in the initial years to build in the system. • We propose to create a pool of social auditors at the block level to provide leadership to the Social audit teams. • We propose to pay the social audit team members @ semi skilled wage rate since voluntary work is not attracting people to involve in the process for 15 days.
  21. 21. Developing and scaling up pro-active disclosure and accountability 1. Wall Paintings  The wage seekers have been made aware of the provisions of the Act to enable them to use their right to demand employment as enshrined in the Act. The following activities are regularly done for better awareness of the people in the process of implementation of works under the Act.  Performance of the programme is depicted in the GP wall indicating progress of the work, rights and entitlements that is guaranteed etc.
  22. 22. Besides, the other forms of campaign include:  Organizing awareness generation camps from time to time at the Districts  Special campaign days are scheduled by the Districts from time to time to spread awareness  Special Campaign Months organised  Self-help Groups are utilized for spreading awareness  Labor Budget exercise is used for awareness generation  Social Audit platforms are used to spread awareness among the people.  The State Government is also in the process of conceptualizing a special multi-media campaign which we propose to put in place after the ensuing Panchayat elections.
  23. 23. 2. Grievance Redress  Help line at the State Headquarters  All grievances are enquired at the level of implementation by officials from the Block and the District  State Quality Monitors conduct regular visits to the Districts and submit report to the Department  Reports are analysed, action taken reports are sought from the Districts  Remedial measures are indicated 3. Ombudsman  At present Ombudsmen cover all the nineteen Districts among themselves.  The State has completed one fresh round of appointment of Ombudsman to eleven selected Ombudsmen.  However, two of them have joined as yet.
  24. 24. Best Practices: Stories from the fieldSocial Audit in Jalpaiguri District
  25. 25. The Beginning of Social Audits in Jalpaiguri Since 2008 followed guideline forwarded by the P&RD vide Memo No. 8952(19)/RD/NREGA/18R-03/07 dated 12-12-2007  13 member team facilitated the entire process  Team was Gram Panchayat specific  Team elected during Gram Sabha  Members were selected from various fields.  03 members were from the Self Help Groups  01 member was from the NGO / Local Club The district went with a new process for implementation of Social Audit, as per the MGNREG Audit of Schemes Rule, 2011 having its pilot on 17th March, 2012.
  26. 26. Human Resource for Social Audit District Social Audit Coordinator (1 nos.) Block Social Audit Coordinator (1 per Block) Village Social Auditors (5 literate youth)
  27. 27. Resource Persons  The District & Block Social Audit Coordinators act as the Resource Persons  The Asst. Prog. Officer, Junior Programme Officer also assist the Resource Persons  Block Social Audit Coordinators were trained on the new method  Block Social Audit Coordinators themselves facilitated Social Audit as the Social Auditors.
  28. 28. Role of the resource persons  Coordinate and facilitate the social audit process in the concerned Block  Identification Auditors and training of Social  Providing support to the Social Auditors during the Social Audit process  Ensure that the Social Audit is done in a transparent and accountable manner
  29. 29. Pre-Social Audit Processes  Schedule is drawn up by the DPC one month prior to the Social Audit Public Hearing  Selection of Social Audit Team Members by the Programme Officer  Intimation letters are sent to the Prodhan regarding dates of the Social Audit, schemes to be audited & documents to be provided 1520 days prior to the Social Audit Public Hearing
  30. 30. Pre - Social Audit process  Resource Persons go into the villages and identify literate youth as per following criteria, and train them as Village Social Auditors  Family registered under MGNREGA  Shouldn’t have any direct relationship with any Political Party / Implementing Agency.  Should be minimum Class X passed.  Should be un-employed.  Not a resident of the said Gram Panchayat (PIA) area.
  31. 31. Social audit process 5 day process Day 1 –Consolidation of Records. Day 2 & 3– Field Verification Day 4 – Social Audit Report writing Day 5 – Social Audit Public Hearing
  32. 32. Consolidation of Records The Social Auditors verify and consolidate all the MGNREGS records pertaining to the schemes to be audited.
  33. 33. Field verification At the Sansad level of the selected Gram Panchayat the team conducts door to door verification of the muster rolls, focused group discussions and worksite verifications. Awareness building of the rights and entitlements of the wage seekers is an important part of the SA process. Formats developed by the District Programme Coordinator is used during the process for data collection. During the field visit the team informs the primary stakeholders about the date, time & venue of the Public Hearing announced by the Program Officer to ensure participation of all.
  34. 34. Social Audit Report Writing After the completion of the two day field visit the Social Auditors sit together and compiles the observations & information collected from field. On basis of same they prepare their issue-based report in the prescribed format for discussion during public hearing.
  35. 35. Announcement regarding Public Hearing The Social Audit verification process ends with a Social Audit Public Hearing, which is scheduled by the PO & BDO through written instructions to the Gram Panchayat, media, elected representatives & all other stakeholders. Sufficient miking is done as one of the methods for publicizing the information for Public Hearing.
  36. 36. Social Audit Public Hearing  Public Hearing convened by the DPC or his / her Representative  Information on schemes visited by the SA team is shared.  Muster Rolls are read out by the Team.  Social Audit Report is read out.  Evidence recorded by Presiding Officer.  Opportunity given to all to respond.  Decision taken during hearing.  Imparting of awareness to the public. Proper documentation of the entire event
  39. 39. AWARENESS OUTCOME a. Knowledge of the public about their rights and entitlements under the MGNREGS is not as expected. ACTION TAKEN a. Briefing of rights & entitlements done at Public Hearing. b. GPs directed to display the information on rights & entitlements on the walls of the office. c. Dissemination of information done through leaflets, wall – writing, information board & like
  40. 40. REGISTRATION OUTCOME a. Knowledge of the public about registration & renewal process under the MGNREGS is not as expected. b. Money sometimes taken for registration or renewal ACTION TAKEN a. Entire process of registration & renewal under MGNREGS is done in the public hearing and during field visit.
  41. 41. JOB CARD OUTCOME a. In some cases the job cards not found in the custody of the job card holders. b. Job details not properly entered. c. Knowledge of the job card holders about entry of job details in Job Card is not as expected ACTION TAKEN a. All are requested in Public Hearing to keep their job cards in their own custody. b. Gram Panchayats directed to ensure job card entry and in event of any lapses invoke Section 25 of the MGNREGA, 2005. c. Necessity of keeping job card updated briefed in Public Hearing.
  42. 42. DEMAND FOR EMPLOYMENT OUTCOME a. b. Wage seekers always do not demand on their own. Dated receipts not provided to wage seekers. ACTION TAKEN a. b. c. d. Briefing of process of registering demand under MGNREGS are done. Multiple channels for demand registration through SHGs, Panchayat Members, Teacher, CSC, Anganwadi workers etc. are introduced. Gram Panchayats directed to ensure acceptance of all demand for work & issuance of dated receipts and in event of any lapses invoke Section 25 of the MGNREGA, 2005. Gram Panchayats to identify official to receive demand application & issue dated receipt on behalf of Pradhan.
  43. 43. JOB PROVISION & WORKSITE FACILITIES OUTCOME a. Job not provided to all within specified time. b. Worksite facilities and display boards with detail information not provided in all worksites. ACTION TAKEN a. Gram Panchayats directed to ensure provision of work to all job seekers. b. Gram Panchayats directed to ensure all the worksite facilities at the worksites. c. Inspection of on-going works to be increased. d. Gram Panchayats directed to ensure concrete display boards with all requisite informations.
  44. 44. PAYMENT OF WAGES & UNEMPLOYMENT ALLOWANCE OUTCOME a. Delayed wage payment in certain cases. b. Non payment of unemployment allowance. c. Knowledge of the public about unemployment allowance not as expected. ACTION TAKEN a. Gram Panchayats directed to ensure timely measurement and payment of wages and unemployment allowances to the job seekers. b. Briefing of rights & entitlements under MGNREGS during the public hearing by the Presiding Officer and like.
  45. 45. IMPACT OF THE SCHEME OUTCOME a. The worksites inspected (mostly under water conservation and rural connectivity) found beneficial for villagers. ACTION TAKEN a. Presiding Officer requested all to attend the Gram Sansad meetings to prepare plan, in advance. b. Also requested to take up of works of various types, to create durable assets.
  46. 46. GRIEVANCE OUTCOME a. No serious allegation (of financial irregularity & like) were raised. ACTION TAKEN a. Presiding Officer requested all the villagers to report irregularities, if any, to the concerned authority like PO and DPC. b. All were requested to call on the district helpline.
  47. 47. Decision by Presiding Officer DPC & DM, MGNREGS or his/her representative presides at the Public Hearing. For every issue that is read out by the Social Audit Team the Presiding Officer records his or her recommendation of action to Government in the Decision Taken Report.
  48. 48. Post social audit  Social Audit & Decision Taken Report hosted on public domain  Programme Officer (BDO) takes the initial follow up action.  Report sent to the District Programme Coordinator for information within 7 days
  49. 49. Purity of Social Audit  Social Auditors stakeholders move with the primary  Public Hearing in an open & public place with prior and sufficient publicity.  Not presided over Implementing Agency or controlled by the  Social Auditors not the residents of the same Gram Panchayat.  Objective process: evidence based  Strict Code of Conduct for Social Auditors
  50. 50. Non Negotiables of SA Process  Strict Code of Conduct for the Social Auditors  No room for Political bias or intervention  Absolute good conduct towards villagers  No press meets or press releases by Social Auditors  No room for intervention Implementing Agency by the
  51. 51. IMPACT OF THE SOCIAL AUDIT The Social Audit was immensely successful in its attempts at highlighting the problems in the implementation of the programme. Some of the useful recommendations that came out of this is to ensure its conduct twice every year in all sansads, and introduction of e-FMS at the earliest. During field verification & public hearing the spirit of the MGNREGA is shared with an ease that enhances the mandate
  52. 52. Financial Implications per social auditor per day = ` 100 + No. of household visited during field visit No. of Social Auditors X ` 1.50 Total
  53. 53. Number of Social Audits conducted as per the MGNREG Audit of Schemes Rule, 2011 during 2012 - 2013  No. of Sub – Division where one round of Social Audit has been conducted : 03  No. of Blocks where one round of SA has been conducted : 13  No. of Gram Panchayat where one round of Social Audit has been conducted: 17 Apart from this, Social Audit, in older format, was conducted in rest of the Gram Panchayats
  54. 54. Number of Social Audits conducted as per the MGNREG Audit of Schemes Rule, 2011 during 2013 - 2014  No. of Sub – Division where 1st round of Social Audit has been conducted : 03  No. of Blocks where 1st round of Social Audit has been conducted : 13  No. of Gram Panchayat where 1st round of Social Audit has been conducted: 46 Planned for all 146 Gram Panchayats but owing to the Panchayat General Election, 2013 only 46 could be covered so far.
  55. 55. Profile of the Presiding Officer • Joint Programme Officer • Asst. Programme Officer • Block Extension Officer Officer deputed in one Block presides the Public Hearing of other Block
  56. 56. Key persons who are invited during Public Hearing • MP, MLA, Members of PRI from the concerned Gram Panchayat • All officials of the Gram Panchayat including Pradhan & Up – Pradhan • Savapati / Saha – Savapati of the concerned Panchayat Samity. • District / Sub – Divisional / Block Officials • Media
  57. 57. Key persons who attended Public Hearings till date MLA State Level Monitor, MGNREGS Savapati Saha – Savapati Leader of Opposition of Panchayat Samity / Gram Panchayat • PO & BDO • Media persons • • • • •
  58. 58. IT in Social Audit Exclusive link in the District web site for Social Audit All Social Audit reports & Action Taken reports are available in the public domain Social Audit video – clippings are also available in the public domain
  59. 59. Our planning for 2013-14  Conduct 2nd phase of Social Audit as per MGNREG Audit of Schemes Rule, 2011 in all 146 Gram Panchayat.  Jt. Block Development Officer cum Block Nodal Officer (SA) of one block to preside Public Hearing of adjacent block  Ensure presence of aware & trained literate youth in every Social Audit Public Hearing  Ensure active participation of primary stakeholder in every sphere of implementation, planning & monitoring  Ensure more accountable & transparent system
  60. 60. Our future planning Conduction of Social Audit Public Hearing for two or more Gram Panchayat at the same platform
  61. 61. Our Constrains 1. Absence of sufficient financial support to the Village Social Auditors. 2. Large number of sansads. 3. Tendency of the members to leave the process in between. 4. In-ability to engage female members as they are reluctant to move to other Gram Panchayats. 5. In – ability to upload the Social Audit & Decision Taken Report (hard copy) through MIS in in case the size exceeds.
  62. 62. A PICTORIAL REPRESENTATION OF SOCIAL AUDITORS IN JALPAIGURI Social Auditor 1 Social Auditor 2 Social Auditor 3 Social Auditor 4 Social Auditor 5 Social Auditor 1 Social Auditor 1a Social Auditor 1b Social Auditor 1c Social Auditor 1d Social Auditor 1e Social Auditor 2 Social Auditor 2a Social Auditor 2b Social Auditor 2c Social Auditor 2d Social Auditor 2e Social Auditor 3 Social Auditor 3a Social Auditor 3b Social Auditor 3c Social Auditor 3d Social Auditor 3e Social Auditor 4 Social Auditor 4a Social Auditor 4b Social Auditor 4c Social Auditor 4d Social Auditor 4e Social Auditor 5 Social Auditor 5a Social Auditor 5b Social Auditor 5c Social Auditor 5d Social Auditor 5e
  63. 63. Presiding Officer at Public Hearing
  64. 64. Social Auditor Reading out Social Audit Report
  65. 65. Wage seekers seeking
  66. 66. Programme Officer responding
  67. 67. State Level Monitor responding
  68. 68. IEC activity during Public Hearing
  69. 69. Women participation during Public
  70. 70. Reporting in News dailies