Odisha expands the social audit system through OSSAT

Bhubaneswar: Carrying forward State Governments’ commitment of transparency and accountability, the social audit of developmental programmes have been institutionalized and expanded in shape of Odisha Society for Social Audit Accountability and Transparency (OSSAAT). The 1st Governing Body meeting of the Society was held under Chairmanship of Chief Secretary Sri Aditya Prasad Padhi today in secretariat conference hall wherein Principal Secretary Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Sri Deo Ranjan Kumar Singh outlined the objectives and functions of the society. Director Special Projects Sri S.N. Girish presented the updates and issues for discussion.
Reviewing the new structure, mandate and activities of the Society, Chief Secretary Sri Padhi directed different departments to get their social audit done through OSSAAT. It was decided that social audit of MGNREGS would be done twice a year. Sri Padhi further directed to conduct social audit of other programmes like PMGSY, rural housing, livelihood mission, construction workers welfare fund etc as per the prescribed time period in respective projects. It was decided that OSSAAT would be vested with sufficient autonomy and would operate independently of general government system for making the social audit meaningful and effective.
The main objective of OSSAAT, said Principal Secretary Sri Singh, “is to create enabling environment for the Gramsabha and Palli Sabha to conduct impartial and effective social audits for the development schemes and programmes in its territory.”
Review of the progress show that the Governing Body of OSSAAT has been formed under the Chairmanship of Chief Secretary Sri Aditya Parsad Padhi involving members from various Government departments, NGOs, academicians and audit experts. The Executive Committee has been formed under the Chairmanship of Principal Secretary Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water. The society has been housed in State Institute of Rural Development, Bhubaneswar. A separate Directorate has been formed under one Independent Director. Presently Sri Binaya Kishore Das has been appointed as full time Director. He is assisted by independent Social Audit Experts (SAEs) and Accounts Officers ( AOs) .
At the district level, independent District Social Auditors have been engaged, At the Block level also Block Social Auditors have been selected from the local civil society. At village level, the members from Women SHGs have been involved as Village Resource Persons.
Director Sri Das appraised that so far 349 Social Aiditors have been trained up in a 30 days duration certificate course on social “ Social Accountability and Social Audit” designed by Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Out of a total 12845 VRPs 7368 have already been trained.
Director Special Projects Sri Girish said, “During the year 2017-18 OSSAAT has expanded its social audit activities to all districts of the State. Out of 6801 GPs, so far, social audit of MGNREGS has been completed in 5984 GPs.
Additional Chief Secretary Forest & Environment Sri Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, Principal Secretary Social Security and Empowerment of person with Disability Nitin Chnadra, Principal Secretary Rural Development Dr Mona Sharma, Principal Secretary Labour and ESI Smt Anu Garg along with other members of the society participated in deliberations.