Why in news

  • The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has decided to conduct an online audit of accounts of about 50,000 Gram Panchayats (GPs) through its application AuditOnline during the current financial year (2020-21). This will be the first such exercise.


  • Online Audit of Accounts: 50,000 GPs’ books of accounts for 2019-20 will be audited with a focus on how they used Finance Commission (FC) grants.
  • 50,000 is equivalent to the 20% of the estimated 2.5 lakh GPs across the country.
  • In the next financial year (2021-22), the exercise will be scaled up to cover all the GPs.
  • The 15th FC recommended an allocation of Rs. 60,750 crore for rural local bodies during 2020- 21, almost the same as last year under the 14th FC.


  • It is an application developed as a part of Panchayat Enterprise Suite (PES) under e-panchayat Mission Mode Project (MMP) initiated by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj (MoPR).
  • It facilitates the financial audit of accounts at all the three levels of Panchayats viz District, Block and Village Panchayats, Urban Local Bodies (ULB) and Line department by Auditors.
  • It not only facilitates the online and offline audit of accounts but also serves the purpose of maintaining the past audit records of the auditee with associated list of the auditors and audit team involved in the audit.
  • Also the information remains available in public domain and for usage by other PES applications.


  • Online audit with the option of physical verification assumes greater relevance given the pandemic and the lockdown.
  • As some works (done under other schemes) are geo-tagged, auditors can do a sample check by visiting the site.
  • Further, it ensures accountability in the utilisation of funds at the ground level.
  • In the offline system, timely availability of records is a major issue. However, in the online system, the auditors will be able to see online all documents related to work approval and payments. They can even ask for additional documents such as photographs as a proof of work done.
  • Moreover, an online audit can be monitored at all
  • levels – district-state-centre


Way Forward

  • If the Panchayats are to perform efficiently and effectively all the mandated tasks, which are increasing day by day, extensive use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is needed. The launch of e-GramSwaraj and Swamitva Programme underlines the same.
  • Moreover, there is a strong need to build a “digital inclusive society” where large sections of the rural population are able to benefit from new technologies; can access and share information and services freely and can participate in the development process more effectively.

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