As reported by Bijoy Pradhan in on 16 April 2008:
Social audit of NREGS works mooted -

Social audit of NREGS works mooted

BHUBANESWAR: LACK of transparency being the major impediment faced by states during execution of the national rural employment guarantee scheme (NREGS), the expert group on NREGS constituted by the Centre has recommended for putting in place a social audit mechanism.

The expert group, headed by Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Rural Development Amita Sharma, comprising Panchayati Raj Secretaries of Orissa West Bengal, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu examined the problems being faced by all the states during implementation of NREGS at a meeting in Delhi recently.

The group recommended the national council on NREGS headed by Union Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh for computerisation of all the gram panchayats with wide area network (WAN) connectivity for online monitoring of the accounting procedures and progress of the projects under execution.

Since Right to information (RTI) is a fundamental right, a proper mechanism has to be put in place to give information sought by people under RTI Act.

Such a mechanism is yet to be developed at gram panchayat level, the group said and recommended for creation of �help desk� from gram panchayat to State headquarters level.

Such a help desk should be created at panchayat having more than 5000 population and one person should be appointed to exclusively deal with RTI cases.

A grievance redressal mechanism should be a permanent measure from GP to State-level as the existing system lacks it. The recommendations of the expert group will be placed before the national council for approval.

Once approved these provisions will be incorporated in the NREG Act, Panchayati Raj Secretary R N Dash said. A few states including Orissa have already introduced the social audit system.

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