VIJAYAWADA: Hailing the village and ward volunteers for their selfless and unbiased service to the people in taking government welfare schemes to their doorstep, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday honoured them with Seva Mitra, Seva Ratna and Seva Vajra Awards. The awards, being given with a budget of Rs 241 crore, will be presented every year, he announced.
Addressing a large gathering at Poranki in Vijayawada, the Chief Minister said in the last 20 months since the system of village/ward volunteers and village secretariats were introduced, they have been serving people to bring about a change in the society. Jagan advised them not to bother about criticism from the Opposition and asked them to remember that they are not doing a job, but service. “Today, I salute them for their selfless contribution and rendering service in taking government’s welfare programmes in an unbiased and graft-free manner,” he said.
Stating that most of these volunteers came from poor backgrounds, the Chief Minister said as they are aware of the difficulties being faced by the poor, the volunteers are putting extra efforts to help the beneficiaries. “Before sunrise, they go to the beneficiaries’ houses under their purview to hand over social welfare pensions. There are 61.73 lakh pension beneficiaries and majority of them receive their pensions on the first day of every month, thanks to the volunteers,” the Chief Minister said.
As many as 32 types of welfare schemes and programmes like YSR Aarogyasri, YSR House Sites, YSR Pensions, Jaganna Thodu are being facilitated by these volunteers irrespective of caste, creed, religions, region, gender and party affiliation, he added. He appreciated the efforts of the volunteers during the Covid crisis in the state.
“Sole objective of these awards — Seva Mitra, Seva Ratna and Seva Vajra — is to express our appreciation and encourage you all to do even better,” he said and cited examples of the volunteers going beyond their call of duty to help the beneficiaries in distress. One such volunteer was Ramana in Sarabujali mandal of Srikakulam district. When an elderly beneficiary under his purview was admitted to KGH in Visakhapatnam, he went all the way to the hospital to give the pension as he felt that the elderly lady needs the money most under such circumstances.
Issac of Santhanuthalapadu in Prakasam district was another such example. He went to Hyderabad to give pension to the elderly women undergoing treatment for heart ailment there. He recalled the incidents when volunteers showed their humane approach by helping gas stove explosion victims in Gajapathinagaram by not only taking them to hospitals but also giving Rs 2,000 from their own pockets. Jagan said that his volunteers have shown to the world that administration at the village-level can be done in an effective manner sans corruption.
The award presentation will be carried out for next couple of weeks at the constituency-level and the Chief Minister will attend one programme each in North Andhra and Rayalaseema. As many as 2,18,115 will be presented with Seva mitra awards, 4,000 volunteers will be presented with Seva Ratna Award (five each from mandal and municipality and 10 each from municipal corporations) and 875 will be presented with Seva Vajra awards. Seva Mitras will be given a cash incentive of Rs 10,000 each, Seva Ratna awardees Rs 20,000 each and Seva Vajra winners will get Rs 30,000 each.