An independent and empowered social audit mechanism is an absolute must in every sphere of public service, including judiciary, to ensure performance, accountability and ethical conduct. Elaborate. | UPSC 2021, 10 Marks

Q6. (a) An independent and empowered social audit mechanism is an absolute must in every sphere of public service, including judiciary, to ensure performance, accountability and ethical conduct. Elaborate. (Answer in 150 words)

न्यायपालिका सहित सार्वजनिक सेवा के हर क्षेत्र में निष्पादन, जवाबदेही और नैतिक आचरण सुनिश्चित करने के लिए एक स्वतंत्र और सशक्त सामाजिक अंकेक्षण तंत्र परम आवश्यक है। सविस्तार समझाइए। (उत्तर 150 शब्दों में दीजिए)

Answer:

The process of sharing details of the financial and non-financial resources utilised by governmental bodies for development initiatives with the public, frequently through a public platform, is known as social auditing. People can use social audits to enforce accountability and transparency, allowing the final users to analyse development activities.

Body

    • It improves a scheme’s efficiency and efficacy while also having a favourable impact on governance.
    • A social audit is used to determine whether or not a benefit intended for an individual or community has reached them.
    • It emphasises the importance of stakeholders’ voices, particularly those of marginalized/poor people whose voices are rarely heard. The 73rd Amendment of the Constitution, for instance, gave Gram Sabhas the authority to undertake social audits in addition to other duties.
    • The social audit method incorporates people’s participation and monitoring with the audit discipline’s requirements.
    • The goal of social auditing is to improve local government, namely to promote accountability and transparency in local bodies. Regular social audits aid in improving the system’s accountability and openness.
    • Regular “Social Audits” are also required under Section 17 of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (NREGA) to maintain transparency and accountability in the scheme.
    • The social audit, in addition to environmental and economic considerations, focuses on the often overlooked subject of social consequences, assisting in full policy review.
    • The public hearings that social audits conclude with remain its soul. 
  • The proceedings cannot be planned, and the social audit as a whole is frequently a dramatic process of power redistribution based on facts and fact.

Challenges

  • Due to a lack of administrative and political will to institutionalise social audit to combat corruption, social audits in many parts of the country are not independent of implementing agencies’ influence.
  • Village social audit facilitators, for example, continue to confront resistance and intimidation, making it difficult to access primary documents for verification.
  • Due to a lack of knowledge, awareness, and capacity building among the general public, public participation has been minimal.
  • There is no impartial agency to investigate and act on the results of social audits.

Suggestions

  • Citizens’ groups must advocate for the strengthening of social audits and make significant progress in holding the political executive and implementing agencies accountable.
  • In each district, a team of social audit experts should be established to train members of the social audit committee (stakeholders).
  • Training programmes on social auditing procedures such as performing and drafting social audit reports, as well as presentation at Gram Sabha, should be developed.
  • The system of social audits requires widespread support and encouragement from multiple authorities in order to become an institutionalised structure that cannot be challenged by vested interests.

Conclusion

The social audit method is designed to increase decision-makers’, representatives’, managers’, and officials’ responsibility through social involvement, openness, and information communication. As a result, social audit has a lot of potential for bridging the gap between policy goals and outcomes.

 

(b) “Integrity is a value that empowers the human being.” Justify with suitable illustration. (Answer in 150 words)

Answer

INTEGRITY

The truthfulness of a person in terms of his speech and action is called integrity. Integrity is considered a core value of our society in philosophical sense or philosophy the term stands for the oneness of a person in terms of his thought, speech and action. It is the consistency or harmony between theoretical and practical life of a person.

Integrity is a foundational value for society and for administration. It refers to oneness of a person in terms of his thought speech and action. It is also related to consistency between critical, theoretical and real life of a person. It is also related to the integration between body and mind.

In administration, integrity is a positive value. It is related to the work commitment of a civil servant .Therefore, second ARC defines integrity in terms of civil servants highest commitment to public interest which means a civil servant should be solely guided by the public interest regardless of financial consideration and advantages to family and friends.

Integrity is broadly classified into intellectual integrity and moral integrity.

Intellectual integrity: It is the commitment of a civil servant or a person towards his understanding, philosophy, knowledge etc. Therefore, it is the absence of intellectual hypocrisy.

Moral Integrity: It is related to self control and it is also related to the ability of a person to use common moral standard for oneself and for others. In case of judgement of conduct and character it involves absence of duality of standard.

 

Integrity can also be classified in terms of personal, organizational, administrative and societal integrity.

Personal Integrity: It means principled self governance. 

Organisational Integrity: It is related to commitment to organisational objectives and values.

Administrative Integrity: It is a kind of organisational integrity. Therefore, a civil servant should be committed to public objectives there should be a dedication towards work.

Societal integrity: It is the commitment of a person to positive values, principles and ideals of the society and doing for the betterment of it.

 

In public life integrity can also be promoted by ensuring integrity agreement between the government authority and next party. It is a clause in agreement where it is declared that no bribery or commission given or accepted in this agreement.

 

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