Civil society groups on Tuesday demanded mandatory audit of centrally sponsored welfare schemes to prevent leakage of funds and efficient administration of programmes such as the flagship National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS).
“We discussed the issue with the finance minister in the light of the fact that social audit is already been carried out in NREGA,” said Rajesh Tandon of the Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) after a pre-budget meeting with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and senior finance ministry officials.
“Representatives of social sector related groups stressed the need for higher transparency and taxation benefits and relief to encourage development,” a finance ministry statement said.
“It was stated that social audit should be made compulsory for all centrally sponsored schemes. The issue of implementation of sub-plans for scheduled castes and scheduled tribe was also raised and it was said that a dedicated sub-plan unit should be set-up in each ministry,” the statement said.
It was suggested that community-based planning and the share of community in development benefits should increase. The need to augment infrastructure available at the Panchayat level was highlighted. It was suggested that community radios should be set-up for better interaction at the grass root level.