Social audits – a method of public examination of accounts of public concerns has largely been addressing the question of corruption. It serves to check the veracity of the records and to check if the expenditure fits the prescribed norms. Efforts are on to extend this concept further to check if public works satisfy the entitlements . The audits currently check the veracity of accounts and its consistency with norms. It will be extended now to cover ‘whether it satisfies ’ the entitlements.
These are a part of a large number of experiments that are being conducted in Right to Food Campaign to build monitoring and accountability that are essential elements in ensuring that the resources are spent and spent well.
3. EMERGING SOLUTIONS
The Right to Food Campaign has been pressing for expansion and improvement of various schemes. In a quest to reduce or eliminate hunger the campaign has been giving various suggestions. I recap some of the major concerns regarding public policy in the campaign:
- Realistic financing
- Universal access and self selection
- Simple schemes with well-defined entitlements.
- Rights based approach over paternalistic and welfare based approach
- Preference for schemes with demonstrated workability
- Involvement of Panchayati Raj institutions
- A monitoring and redressal mechanism
- Right to information.
- Well designed schemes.
The campaign has shown a preference for schemes that seem to match many of these concerns. In suggesting improvements of schemes, these are among the considerations that are repeated most often.