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Bhilwara Social Audit, 2009 - Oct 9th Update

The Social Audit Padyatra (Foot March) in Bhilwara 2009 reaches its last stage today, before the 11 special Social Audits in 11 panchayats of 11 blocks tomorrow, Saturday, October 10, 2009.

 

 Today, a press conference was held by Soochna Evam Rozgar Adhikar Abhiyan (Right to Information and Employment Campaign) at Bhilwara. The press conference was addressed by NREGA leaders Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, CAG Director General Niranjan Pant and others. Ms Roy said that this social audit process is the largest of its kind where for the first time the government has recognized the importance of involving ordinary citizens and as people interested in a democratic structure, this was a unique experiment in people’s organizations and the government joining forces to make the NREGA famework truly work. Nikhil Dey of Soochna and Rozgar Adhikar Abhiyan said that this process is just a beginning and will now be implemented in the entire state and possibly, other states. Previous efforts by the GoR to undertake social audits did not involve people’s organizations and were more processes undertaken on paper than reality. He added that Rs 8000 crores have been spent on NREGA so far and by the next year this amount will reach to Rs 10,000 crores and hence such joint efforts in social audit are of critical importance. Dr Pant revealed that a special task force has been appointed under the Deputy Director of the CAG in order to incorporate important elements of the social audit process into their own audit processes and he expected to witness some of these elements during his stay in Bhilwara.

 


To recap some of the special features of the proceedings to date:

 

This is the largest Social Audit of its kind after the enactment of the NREGA in 2005 with about 2000 people, organised by the Government of Rajasthan and the Soochna Evum Rozgar Adhikar Abhyan to monitor ongoing NREGA works.

 

Participants include 1000 district and block resource persons chosen by the government, and volunteers from people’s organizations from across Rajasthan and 13 other states.

 

Divided into 135 teams of 15 members each the participants were given detailed training in the Social Audit process from October 1-3 at Bhilwara. On October 2, Gandhi Jayanti, the participants gave shramdaan of half a day under NREGA rules on work sites chosen specifically for this exercise to gain first hand experience of the NREGA work environment. A team of 20 disabled persons from 6 states also fully participated in this exercise. This was undertaken keeping in mind the future utility of this work in areas where NREGA was not already ongoing but that formed support work for the NREGA sites.

 

From October 5-8, the teams undertook a “padyatra” (footmarch) covering more than 381 Gram Panchayats comprising 1600 villages. 900 NREGA worksites were assessed during this period. Today, October 9, all the members of these 135 teams have assembled at the 11 Special Social Aduit Gram Panchayats.

 

All 135 teams were on foot during the padyatra, ate in ordinary people’s homes and mingled with all without care for caste or creed. They also ensured that they did not accept food or shelter from the representatives of the gram panchayat, and mixed with ordinary villagers.

 

Recoveries of delayed payment figures made available thus far (for Suvana Block):

 

Ø      Paldi –             25000/-

Ø      Karoi –           150000/-

Ø      Mangrop –      162000/-

Ø      Dariba –          400000/-

Ø      Peepli –           1000000/-

Ø      Haler-             100000/-

Ø      Total-             18,37,000/-

 

The details of the action taken and FIRs lodged thus far from the cases emerging during the padyatra:

 

Ø      Sarpanch -                              1 (Tasvariya Panchayat)

Ø      Programme Officer-                 2 ( Hurda and Asind Panchayat Samiti)

Ø      Gram Sachiv –                         1 ( Tasvariya Panchayat)

Ø      Employment Assistant –           1 (Tasvariya Panchayat)

Ø      Technical Assistant –   1 (Hurda Panchayat Samiti)

Ø      Computer Programmer –         1 ( Asind Panchayat Samiti)

Ø      Accountant –                           1 ( Asind Panchayat Samiti)

List of states from which participants have come for the Social Audit

 

1.      Delhi

2.      Uttar Pradesh

3.      Maharashtra

4.      Madhya Pradesh

5.      Orissa

6.      Kerala

7.      Andhra Pradesh

8.      Haryana

9.      Himachal Pradesh

10.  Gujarat

11.  Tamil Nadu

12.  Rajasthan

13.  Uttranchal

 

  • Bhilwara is the constituency of the Central Rural Development ad Pachayati Raj Minister, C. P. Joshi and hence politically extremely significant.

 

  • The Social Audit follows the institution of a Social Audit Directorate by the Government of Rajasthan in the last week, and is acting as a workshop cum training for the 1000 District resource persons (DRPs) and Block Resource Persons ( BRPs) and an additional 1000 civil society/ NGO representatives who will be the resource persons for the Directorate's  continual social audit of the NREGA in every Gram Pan chayat and Block in Rajasthan. It is the most practical method of ensuring that the money intended for the poor reaches Gandhiji's last person.

 

  • Today, October 9, the Director General of the Comptroller and Accounting General (CAG) of India, Dr. Niranjan Pant, also joined the Social Audit process and will be here to witness the proceedings until October 11. 

 

  • Other eminent guests expected to join the process include veteran journalists Shri Prabhash Joshi and Shri Ajit Bhattacharjea who will be arriving for the special Social Audits on October 10 and will address the public meeting on October 11.

 

Zindabad,

Bhanwar Meghwanshi, Shankar Singh, Nikhil Dey, Bhanwar Singh Chandana, Motilal

 

For The Soochna Evum Rozgar Abhiyan

 

 
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