Resigned volunteers press for reinstatement in Andhra Pradesh

After the elections, the NDA government, formed in the State, promised to pay Rs.10,000 as an honorarium and assured the continuation of the volunteer system.
Ward and village volunteers, who resigned before the general elections, submit representations to officials seeking their reinstatement
Ward and village volunteers, who resigned before the general elections, submit representations to officials seeking their reinstatement Photo | Express

VIJAYAWADA : The State government continuing the village volunteer system, which became the eye of the storm ahead of general elections in the State, is causing the resigned volunteers to run pillar to post seeking reinstatement.

Since its inception, the volunteer system has attracted criticism from TDP and Jana Sena, accusing it of being used for political purposes by the then ruling YSRC. This hot topic has shown its impact on the voting in the State.

Intended to deliver government services to the doorsteps of people, the village volunteers ensure efficient delivery of social benefits, instil trust in the government, and provide governance services at home. The previous YSRC government paid Rs. 5,000 honorarium to over one lakh volunteers responsible for ensuring the implementation of government schemes at the ground level.

While it was stated that volunteering was not a job but an opportunity for the unemployed to serve the people. However, many volunteers actively participated in YSRC poll campaign, attracting criticism.

Following the High Court’s instructions on the distribution of pensions and opposition allegations, hundreds of volunteers resigned, particularly in Machilipatnam, where about eight hundred stepped down from their duties. After the elections, the NDA government, formed in the State, promised to pay Rs. 10,000 as an honorarium and assured the continuation of the volunteer system.

As a result, volunteers are now approaching the authorities seeking to continue their roles, alleging that previous government leaders forced them to resign. Volunteers in Gudivada complained to the police against the former minister Kodali Sri Venkateswara Rao (Nani), claiming he and his followers forced their resignations. In Machilipatnam, over 100 volunteers urged the Municipal Corporation Commissioner for reconsideration.

Authorities said they approved the resignations submitted before the elections and cannot reverse them now, but they will submit applications to the government for reconsideration from resigned volunteers.

Speaking to TNIE, Alekhya Padmavathi, a former volunteer of the 25th Secretariat of Machilipatnam Municipal Corporation, stated that the previous government misled them by promising reinstatement only if they resigned, without informing them that the NDA government would also continue the system. She appealed to the government to revoke their resignations, allowing them to serve their community.

Another resigned volunteer, Boyina Seshu Babu of the 14th Division, Machilipatnam, alleged that an unknown person submitted his resignation without his knowledge. He said that he noticed this only after it was approved and appealed for reconsideration to serve the people.

Responding to the issue, Minister for Social Welfare, Sachivalayam, and Gram Volunteers Dola Bala Veeranjaneya Swamy told TNIE that the issue of volunteer resignations is a policy matter and noted that the resignations did not occur under the current government. He emphasised that decisions on new appointments will be made after the upcoming cabinet meeting. The minister also highlighted that there are many urgent issues to resolve first and the government will look into the matter by forming a committee to study the errors in the volunteer system.

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