VIJAYAWADA: Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday wrote a letter addressing village and ward volunteers, expressing anguish after learning that they had taken to streets demanding salary hike. He said they are not doing a ‘job’ but ‘service’.In his four-page letter, the Chief Minister said nearly 2.6 lakh young men and women were made village/ward volunteers and entrusted with a noble responsibility.
“Seeing that the public delivery system in place was thrown into disarray by Janmabhoomi Committees of the previous government, the new system of village/ward volunteers was introduced,” he observed. He said every volunteer is responsible for 50 households, and their selection was not on the basis of caste, creed, religion, gender or party affiliation, but to put in place a better delivery system.
“The objective is to ensure that government schemes reach the targeted group, with eligibility as the only criteria. People who did not vote for me were also given the benefits if the eligibility criteria was met.”
The Chief Minister said these public servants are being provided Rs 5,000 not as salary but as honorarium to ensure they do not get enticed. “No other state government would spend such an amount for door delivery of citizen services. Our government has been extending Rs 60,000 per year to each volunteer with an objective to provide services to people in an unbiased manner,” he said.
He asked them to remember what he said when he started the village/ward volunteer system and what was there in the handbooks given to each of them. Honorarium provided to them was clearly defined without any scope for misunderstanding and misinterpretation.
“In the handbook, in my message it was clearly stated that in every village and ward, for every 50 households, youth with service motive are being appointed as volunteers with an honorarium of Rs 5,000. They would be a link between the village secretaries and the households to ensure the efficiency of door delivery schemes and benefits under Navaratnalu. They are to work as volunteers till they get better jobs/employment opportunities,” he said.
The Chief Minister said the meaning of volunteer is “a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.” “Those who are working as volunteers should take note of it that they are giving attendance three days in a week, that too in their free time stating their availability. There are no rules for them stating that they have to work for these many hours or for these many days.” Jagan asked them not to be misled by people who are bent on destroying the volunteer system, and continue to offer their services as before.