Assembly passes Social Audit Bill, 2017

Shillong, March 25: The Meghalaya Community Participation and Public Services Social Audit Bill, 2017 has been passed by the State Assembly on Friday which will help the State government review the delivery of public services and implementation of government schemes and programmes through a participatory social audit by the government and stake holders.
The Bill which has now become an Act, aimed at ensuring timely review and concurrent course-correction in the delivery of schemes and programmes, achieve realization of desired development outcomes, monitor the effectiveness and efficiency of the implementation of the development programmes and public services in a time-bound manner, encourage transparency in the delivery mechanisms and institutions engaged in the implementation of developmental programmes and public services, ensure that the social audit process would educate the citizens, make aware of their rights and entitlements in order to build their confidence and secure their participation, enhance citizens’ ownership in the development initiatives taken up by the government.
The Social Audit shall e used for the purpose of finding facts at the field level in the implementation of the programmes and to improve upon them, seek suggestion from the people on ways and means to improve the implementation of development programmes and public services, and provide platform for airing public grievances and ensure a time-bound redress of the same.
According to the Act, the State Social Audit Council would be constituted to discharge the functions, and perform the duties assigned to it. The Council will be headed by a chairperson who an eminent prson with rich experience in the development sector.
The Council shall perform and discharge its functions and duties which include establishing a systematic concurrent audit system by involving the trained Civil Society Organisations, preparation of annual reports reports to be laid in the Assembly by the State Government on the status of the implementation of the programmes and schemes.
The Deputy Commissioner shall be the principal authority at the district level as the District Social Audit Coordinator.
At the village and locality level, the Social Audit will be facilitated by reputed NGOs and Self Help Groups and they be termed as Social Audit Facilitators, which should have adequate human resources for the smooth conduct of the Socal Audit.
The Social Audit shall be conducted in atleast 50 per cent of the villages and localities during a financial year.
Th public hearing shall decide the timelines, and the responsibility is entrusted to the concerned department or officer or stakeholder for effective redress of the grievances raised therein and for initiating time-bound corrective measures on the findings. The timeline for resolution of the grievances and for initiating actions on the findings can vary from five to 30 working days. Any delay in taking corrective measures shall be subjected to explanation by the respective implementing agency or officer concerned. Departmental proceedings shall be initiated against willful defaulters.

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