The village volunteer system in Andhra Pradesh has emerged as a pivotal force in empowering communities, providing essential services, and driving positive change. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s principles, this grassroots governance model has garnered significant success and recognition for its effective implementation.
According to a press release by the State government, the ongoing ‘Jagananna Suraksha’ campaign has reached new heights in its commitment to citizen welfare, with volunteers playing a pivotal role in its success. This visionary initiative aims to deliver essential certificates and documents, free of cost, directly to the people at their doorstep. The dedicated village volunteers have been instrumental in making this campaign a resounding success, facilitating hassle-free access to vital documents and effectively resolving citizens’ grievances.
The campaign has successfully surveyed 91,07,637 households, reaching every corner of the state. Through the Jagananna Suraksha campaign, 30,91,303 individuals have found solutions to their problems. Whether it is obtaining caste certificates, income certificates, or other essential documents, the campaign has successfully addressed citizens’ concerns and streamlined the process of acquiring vital paperwork.
To bring governance directly to the doorsteps of the people, the campaign has organized 6,997 strategically located camps across the state. These camps serve as platforms for citizens to voice their grievances, seek assistance, and promptly obtain the required certificates and documents. The tireless efforts of the village volunteers ensure that no concern goes unheard, fostering a sense of trust and transparency.
The press release further said Andhra Pradesh’s volunteer system boasts an impressive number of 2,61,351 volunteers, comprising both rural and urban volunteers. These individuals are carefully selected through a rigorous process and possess a minimum qualification of completing 10th grade. They fall within the age range of 18 to 35 years. Belonging to the same village or Gram Panchayat in rural areas and ULBs in urban areas, they are well-connected with their respective communities, enabling a deeper understanding of local needs and challenges.
The volunteers hold the designations of Village Volunteers in rural areas and Ward Volunteers in urban areas. Recognizing their invaluable contributions, the government provides a monthly honorarium of Rs. 5,000 to each volunteer. This remuneration not only serves as a source of livelihood but also enhances their commitment to the communities they serve., the press release said.
Volunteers are appointed by selection committees, chaired by respective authorities such as MPDO (Rural) and Municipal Commissioners (Urban). Upon selection, MPDO issues appointment letters to Village Volunteers, while Municipal Commissioners issue appointment letters to Ward Volunteers. The honorarium payment is disbursed by the GSWS Department for Village Volunteers and the MA & UD Department for Ward Volunteers.
The press release further said the volunteers undertake a wide range of responsibilities to ensure efficient service delivery and address citizens’ concerns. Key Result Areas include:
Facilitating the delivery of government services such as YSR Pension Kanuka, New Rice Cards, YSR Aarogyasri Health Cards, and Jagananna Thodu scheme.
Identifying eligible beneficiaries for various government schemes and collecting eKYC and payment acknowledgments, as well as gathering beneficiary testimonials.
Assisting in grievance redressal and supporting departments in activities related to taxation, surveys, health campaigns, and agriculture initiatives.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, volunteers played a vital role in safeguarding communities. They provided essential services, such as rice card distribution, fever surveys covering millions of households, identification of symptomatic individuals for testing, and supplying food and medicine to home-quarantined Covid-19 patients.
Their commitment and proactive efforts have been crucial in managing the pandemic’s impact at the grassroots level. Andhra Pradesh’s volunteer system stands as a shining example of grassroots governance, empowering communities, and driving positive change.
As a result, it has transformed lives, fostered inclusivity, and inspired other states in India to replicate this exemplary model. The volunteer system remains an indispensable force, embodying the principles of accountability, community participation, and responsive governance, the press release added.