Sunday, March 30, 2008

Social Audit in Jhalawar (Rajasthan), 31 January - 8 February 2008

In early February 2008 the Rozgar Evum Suchna Ka Adhikar Abhiyan (Rajasthan), and the Hum Kisan Sangathan organised a social audit and jan sunwai in Jhalawar district, Rajasthan. This was to be a follow-up to other audits organised by the Abhiyan (in conjunction with local organisations), in Dungarpur, Udaipur, Sirohi, and Karoli districts. While these audits were planned and executed with the cooperation of the State Government, the Government inexplicably withdrew its support at the time of the Banswara social audit in December 2007. As a result, the Jhalawar social audit reverted to the pattern of a "jan sunwai," in which the same exercise is initiated and supported by civil society organizations.
While the Jhalawar social audit was eventually conducted in five panchayats -- (Manpasar, Banskheda, Banskhedi, Jawar and Awalhera, of Manohar Thana block) -- the experience suggested that resistance to the social audit process is growing, as vested interests become increasingly worried about the effect of increased transparency on corrupt practices in implementing the NREGA. In Jhalawar the Sarpanch Sangh explicitly stated in a memorandum that (in gross violation of the NREGA), "no information would be provided to the Hum Kisan Sangathan." Though the Abhiyan had applied for information on 15 January, information was released only on February 2, that too after a three-day dharna in front of the block office. Click for Report

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