Government Initiated Social Audits or Socio-economic Surveys

The government carries out surveys to track progress of rural and tribal upliftment programs. For example, such surveys are conducted to evaluate the socio-economic status of street vendor, schedule caste and schedule tribes, flood impacted population and beneficiaries of schemes such as PMAY and PM SVANidhi. In 2022-23, 46 tenders were published in India related to urban development initiatives. MP’s Urban Administration and Development Department advertised 41 tenders for hiring agencies to collect data and do socio-economic profiling surveys. Additionally, Gujarat’s AUDA, UP’s Urban Development Dept, Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Board, and Delhi’s Housing and Urban Development Corp. did these surveys too. Many governmental departments carried out these surveys to gather data for certain government schemes or programs.

Tender Analysis of Last 2 Years:
During the last two years, 123 socio economic survey tenders were published by the governmental agencies in India. Among these, Madhya Pradesh was ranked first with 43 tenders. A total of 27 tenders were published in Maharashtra followed by West Bengal with 9 tenders. These tenders were published by 44 government agencies. Of these, the Urban Administration and Development Department advertised 41 tenders and became the top ranked agency advertising socio-economic surveys. The Directorate of Municipal Administration advertised 11 tenders and positioned second in the list.

Survey for Urban Development:
Many socio-economic surveys were conducted in the context of urban development. As the country develops, a lot of the immigrants coming into urban areas in search of employment are side-lined. Many initiatives are taken by the government agencies across India to improve their well-being. One such initiative is the PM SVANidhi program. The Urban Administration and Development Department in Madhya Pradesh advertised a tender for comprehensive data collection and socio-economic profiling surveys across the state. A total of 41 such tenders were advertised to select agencies to conduct the survey at various locations spread across the State.  Similar tenders were advertised in other States as well. For example, the Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) in Gujarat, a state renowned for its industrial prowess, advertised a tender to gather data and evaluate the socio-economic conditions within its jurisdiction.

Survey of Street Vending:
Street vending is significantly growing all around the world. It is a significant activity related to the informal sectors in urban areas. In India, the largest concentration of street vendors in Mumbai has 0.25 million, followed by Kolkata with 0.2 million.. In order to ensure well-being of not only the street vendors but also their family, government agencies initiated a study to learn about their socio-economic status. In the past 2 years, 36 tenders were published for the survey of street vendors. For example, the Directorate of Municipal Administration in Karnataka published a tender regarding socio-economic profiling of street vendors. The Urban Administration department in Madhya Pradesh published a tender to select an agency for data collection and survey of socio economic profiling in Shivpuri City Amount quoted per street vendor families.

 Irrigation and Industrial Expansion related surveys:
When an irrigation project is implemented, such as construction of a dam, the nearby areas are prone to flooding. Hence, to evaluate the impact of such projects, government agencies undertake socio economic impact assessment of the project to evaluate the impact the project has had on the affected population. The District Education Office in Balangir, Odisha advertised two tenders for engaging facilitating agency for socio-economic survey of affected villages of Lower Suktel Irrigation Project. Also, the Western Coalfields Limited released 3 tenders in Maharashtra during the past two years. They sought to appoint NGO/CBO for conducting Base Line Socio-Economic Survey (BLSES) / Social Impact Assessment Study (SIAS) etc, of Project Affected Area Kukurmunda Village of Vishnupuri UG to OCM, of Pench Area.

Survey for Tax Assessment:
To analyse the number of tax payers and also the amount of due tax, this survey is often conducted. It is also performed for property tax assessment. During the previous two years, a total of 3 tenders were published for property tax assessment. These tenders were advertised by the Directorate of Municipal Administration in Maharashtra. The vendors selected from these tenders were required to conduct a field survey to collect data for socio-economic information and property tax assessment.

Contract Value of Socio-economic Surveys or Social Audits:
Although the estimated contract value of socio-economic and social audit tenders was not published in a few cases, we can draft an idea about it from the published figures. The estimated worth widely varied. In the 2022-23 period, it started from Rs. 1 lakh and went up to Rs. 70 lakhs. For example, the Urban Administration and Development Department published a tender in Madhya Pradesh for socio-economic profiling and linkage street vendors to government scheme with the estimated budget of Rs. 1 lakh. Whereas, the Directorate of Municipal Administration advertised a tender in Maharashtra to carry out field survey to prepare attribute and non-attribute spatial data for the purpose of socio-economic information and property tax assessment. This project had the estimated budget of Rs. 70 lakhs. There were other high budget projects as well; such as, the Department of Local Government released a tender in Punjab for a comprehensive socio-economic housing study for better planning and policy making. This project was of worth around Rs. 50 lakhs. There were a few more high budget projects like these, but in most cases the estimated contract value stayed within Rs. 20 lakhs.

Live Tender Analysis:
As of April 1st, 2024, there was only one live tender for social audit or socio-economic survey in Kerala, as per shown in the graph below. Until April 5, 2024, the State government agencies and the Public Sector Undertakings published 47 Socio Economic Survey tenders and 132 Social Audit tenders.

The above analysis shows the important and significant demand of social audit and socio-economic survey in the governmental departments. The data collected by the surveys are crucial for continuous improvement of the relevant government schemes and programs. These surveys are often conducted to analyse the number of beneficiaries of the schemes devised by the government. The government agencies hire eligible agencies or NGOs to conduct these surveys. These are not only important for the government, but also highly profitable for the tender seeking agencies. This opens up a wide opportunity for them, and they must make full use of it.

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