Social audit

No matter how low or how high the corruption graph is, all we need to learn is to assess our honesty

FIDA IQBAL
Srinagar, Publish Date: Feb 18 2018 10:09PM | Updated Date: Feb 18 2018 10:09PM
Social auditRepresentational Pic

It is immaterial to discuss what is our state’s rating on corruption front. Instead, we should definitely and actively contribute to getting the corruption levels down to endurable levels. Certainly, it is the fundamental obligation of the state not only to weed out corruption but create an atmosphere of governance where there will be no space for unethical activities. However, while taking the corrupt and corruption head-on no administration will succeed unless it enjoys absolute public support. No institution monitoring bribery or prosecuting the dishonest will make any headways without people’s backing. Corruption hits the common people most and thus it is the common man who can make a difference! The people’s support by identifying crooks, locating and reporting dishonesty is a crusade— the ‘Social audit’.

During the last many years successive state governments getting a bad name for intolerable levels of corruption tried their best to have serious damage control provisions in place. Strengthening of vigilance grid and the establishment of institutions like State Accountability Commission and State Vigilance Commission were the bold steps initiated by these government and their political leadership. Right to Information Act also played a much vital role in empowering the people against exploitation and dishonesty. But all these sincere efforts of the state have failed to deliver in the absence of public support. No doubt, certain elements within the system and the all-powerful corruption mafia with its moles embedded everywhere from the day one tried to weaken these organizations against graft. However, if people would have avoided to played ostrich and volunteered their undaunted social audit the situation would have altogether changed. People have to organize under the banner of anti-graft organizations and counter the element of fear created by the corrupt mafia and assist anti-graft agencies in curbing corruption.

People’s social audit campaign can play a crucial role in eradicating fraud in almost all fields of life but there are few areas where containing corruption is impossible without public support. Monitoring of developmental and social upliftment schemes, discouraging encroachments and vandalization of heritage are most prominent areas where people’s support for transparency is of vital importance. Our water bodies and waterways, so crucial to the ecosystem would have never collapsed to present situation if people particularly those living in the vicinity would have acted vigilantly and subjected the matter to social audit. Unfortunately, people very often hide behind Kashmiri humorist poet Ayub Sabir’s sarcastic lines, “Karimas building panchah por, maa kyaa oor sanun cthum; akha hor akha yor, maa kyaa oor sanun cthum” in a nutshell meaning—why to bother unnecessarily about happenings in my vicinity. People as social animals cannot run away from their responsibilities and then blame others particularly the authorities for rot in the system around us. We all have to play a proactive role and as conscious citizens stand firmly against falsehood, fraud, nepotism and corruption that all leads to exploitation.  

People often talk and mention about flawed quality control in developmental projects and bungling in social upliftment schemes but never inquire or investigate on their own or rarely report to the concerned authorities or anti-graft agencies. Even after being empowered to know about the facts through right to information act we take almost every dishonest practice in our own stride bothering least about the long-term impact of such acts of deceit. Misuse and theft of electricity is one such glaring example that explains our lack of awareness and courage to safeguard the public assets and interests. Almost all of us might have experienced and witnessed theft of electricity in one way or the other but very few might have dared to stop or report the theft. And on occasions, anyone who mustered some courage to report such theft may have to face the anger of the offenders and the taunts of others. All this depicts the sickening image of our mindset vis-à-vis the social audit.    Practically every day we helplessly watch encroachment of state assets and vandalization of our heritage but most of us turn a blind eye towards such brazenness and rarely report to authorities. A very recent example of public indifference is our ignorance towards brazen encroachment, violations and vandalization of heritage in the vicinity of SPS museum Srinagar on river Jhelum front where heritage house of Aga’s has been besieged by the real-estate mafia and is loudly calling for a social audit.

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