For effective public service delivery, there is a need to shift from traditional accountability mechanisms to social accountability mechanisms. In this context, discuss the pre-conditions for the success of social accountability efforts and the challenges associated with them.

Effective public service delivery involves active engagement, participation, inclusivity, and efficient resource utilization, aimed at large public interest.

The mechanism for traditional accountability:

  • Parliamentary control over the executive
  • Financial accountability
  • Budgetary controls
  • Elections as a mechanism for political accountability
  • Agencies like CVC, CBI, state Vigilance departments, etc.

The mechanism for social accountability:

  • Social Audits
  • Participatory planning
  • Citizen’s report card
  • Citizen’s charter & social accountability
  • Community perception surveys
  • Financial audits
  • Civil society engagement

Social Accountability for effective Public Service Delivery:

  • Social audits are based on the principles of participation & engagement ensuring Jan Bhagidari, Jan Jankari, Suraksha, Prashasan, Janata ka Manch, Karyavahi, etc.
  • Civic engagement in the development process via direct or indirect ways of ensuring outcomes of development projects.
  • Social accountability tools help in ensuring efficient and wise use of the finances of the public.
  • Raises awareness about the laws and ensures effective redressal of grievances.

Pre-conditions for success of social accountability measures:

  • Active and aware citizens.
  • Basic literacy includes both digital and financial understanding.
  • Presence of NGOs and other organizations to help in the auditing mechanism.
  • Availability of online data related to government officials engaged in the planning process, and finances.

Challenges associated with social accountability mechanism:

  • Social audit tools might be used as political tools by the opposition.
  • Non-availability of auditors.
  • Lack of awareness about the existence of such mechanisms.
  • Data provided by government bodies is often incomplete.
  • Passive citizenry and disenchanted youth engagement.

Various states have brought out laws mandating the social audit of various schemes at the PRI level in Rajasthan. Sensitization and legal backing remain the key.

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