The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has formulated a scheme, namely Information-Monitoring, Evaluation and Social Audit (I-MESA) in FY 2021-22.
- Under this scheme, Social Audits are to be conducted for all the schemes of the Department starting FY 2021-22.
- These social audits are done through Social Audit Units (SAU) of the States and National Institute for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.
- Social Audit is the audit of a scheme jointly by the Government and the people, especially by those who are affected by the scheme or its beneficiaries.
- Benefits: It is a powerful tool to promote transparency, accountability and people’s participation in the schemes meant for them.
- A social audit helps to narrow gaps between vision/goal and reality, between efficiency and effectiveness.
- Status: Mahatma Gandhi National National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) was the first Act to mandate Social Audit by the Gram Sabha of all the projects taken up in the Gram Panchayat.
- Most States have set up an independent Social Audit Unit (SAU) and some have even begun to facilitate Social Audit in other programmes, including Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, National Social Assistance Programme, Midday Meal Scheme and Public Distribution System.