Spectators or Participants? Effects of Social Audits in Andhra Pradesh

By Yamini Aiyar and Soumya Kapoor Mehta
Economic & Political Weekly, 14 February 2015

How does a hierarchical, top-down state respond to efforts to become directly accountable towards its citizens? This article analyses this question through India's experience with implementing social audits for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in Andhra Pradesh. Drawing on an intensive survey with MGNREGA wage-seekers, it examines the role of social audits in providing a platform for citizens to engage with the state; the state's ability to respond to grievances raised through the audit; and the effects of the audit on the local corruption market.