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Abuse of power: Volunteers distributing Jagan’s letters to voters in Tirupati


When Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jaganmohan Reddy appointed thousands of village and ward volunteers soon after YSRCP government came to power, it was believed that it would provide employment to thousands of unemployed youth as well help people to access government schemes and services at their doorsteps.

But the Jagan government is using volunteers for its political interests at the cost of public money.

Volunteers are now openly campaigning for YSRCP for the upcoming Tirupati Lok Sabha bypoll on April 17 which amounts to gross abuse of power by the state government.

Volunteers are visiting every household and distributing open letters written by Jagan on the welfare schemes and development programmes undertaken by YSRCP government during the past two years and seeking votes.

The ministers, YSRCP MLAs, MLCs, MPs and other local leaders are holding meetings with volunteers against the norms and assigning them various tasks to secure votes for YSRCP.

The mobile phones of volunteers are being seized before these meetings to ensure that they don’t record any audios or videos of these meetings and ‘leak’ to others which may invite action from the Election Commission and criticism from the Opposition parties. The phones are handed over to them after the meetings.

Each volunteer has been given a task to secure majority votes in their jurisdiction in favour of YSRCP and are being warned that they may lose their jobs if they fail to get votes for YSRCP.

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Why is Jagan giving most credit for volunteers?

CM Jaganmohan Reddy takes a lot of pride and interest in the system of village and ward volunteers. They are all appointed by his Government. Their service conditions are not known well but they are drawing salaries of Rs. 5,000 each. Over 2.22 lakh volunteers have been appointed all over the State. There is no increase in their salaries. CM has said that the volunteers jobs are voluntary in nature and hence no need for special benefits.

However, the Government is preparing to give huge cash benefits of Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 10,000. This Ugadi, it is going to be a celebration time for volunteers spread over different assembly segments. Doubtless to say, they have become the strong support system for the YCP leaders more than the Government departments.

There are many employees to take care of people’s needs in the local self-government. From the village revenue officers and assistants to revenue inspectors, many of them render services. Still, the Jagan regime is giving most of the credit for the volunteers. Intriguingly, each of the 2.22 lakh volunteers is having complete details of the households in their respective localities. They know who is actually residing locally and who is not by their fingertips.

As such, volunteers’ role has emerged more important than even sarpanch in the context of the YCP style politics. Undoubtedly, the Jagan regime is relying more on volunteers than anybody else to continue its saga of power in AP.

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Jagan awards for ‘volunteers’ raise doubts amid polls


Grama and ward volunteers have become a major controversy for their role in the panchayat elections. Now, the State Election Commission is busy with the municipal elections. The ZPTC and MPTC polls are also on the cards. Amid this election season, the Jagan Reddy Government has come out with a plan to give awards to the volunteers in the coming Ugadi festival in recognition of their services.

Interestingly, the awards presentation would be taken up with the assembly segment as a unit. ‘Seva Ratna’, ‘Seva Mitra’ and ‘Seva Vajra’ awards will be given to them. Cash awards of Rs. 10,000, Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 30,000 would be given to these Volunteers respectively.

CM Jagan himself is going to attend these awards distribution functions in the three regions. The excessive focus being given by the YCP has triggered doubts on the greater importance it is going to give to the Volunteers system. Already, the Opposition parties are greatly alarmed at the misuse of this system to pressurise and even threaten the voters during the elections.

The volunteers are next only to the police in becoming controversial for their role in harassing the Opposition candidates and voters. From the beginning, the ruling party MLAs and top leaders are closely having a total control on the activities of the volunteers which has triggered serious concerns among the rivals.

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Jagan’s volunteer system helps AP disburse pension at home


Thanks to a network of village and ward volunteers it had put in place on Independence Day this year, the Andhra Pradesh government has been able to smoothly execute its coronavirus containment measures and deliver social welfare schemes.

On Wednesday morning, around 3 lakh ward and village volunteers descended into action and went door-to-door across Andhra Pradesh to deliver the monthly pensions to 59 lakh retired employees.

So effective was the delivery system that by 8.30 a.m., the volunteers had covered 53 per cent of pensioners, translating to 31 lakh disbursements out of 59 lakh pensioners. By noon, the volunteers had distributed 84.19 per cent of pensions.

The volunteers are taking adequate precautions to guard against COVID-19 transmission. This time the pensions are being disbursed on the basis of photo identification cards instead of fingerprint identification.

The ward and village volunteer system that was unveiled on August 15 by chief minister Jaganmohan Reddy, is envisaged to help monitor and ensure delivery of government welfare schemes to beneficiaries in the state. Each volunteer is supposed to access 50 households in the vicinity.

Reddy had earlier credited the volunteers with successful monitoring of the quarantined people in the state.

The volunteers are mostly in the age group of 18-35 years old, and resident of the locality. Each volunteer receives monthly honorarium of Rs 5000.

At the time of the launch of the ward and village volunteer plan, some of the opposition parties in the state had criticized it on the ground that the ruling party members would benefit from it.

Ever since the COVID-19 crisis broke out, the AP government has been utilizing the volunteers to monitor the foreign returnees in the state, deliver essentials to people at doorsteps, and deliver welfare doles.

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Jagan volunteers’ failures exposed in COVID lockdown test?


All across AP, poor families are waiting for ration in long queues. Social distancing is thrown to winds. Lockdown has become a farce. Jagan Sarkar police have beaten up people crossing into the AP border, but there’s hardly any vigil at ration queues. Now, all sections are asking what happened to CM Jagan’s boastful statements about his volunteers delivering ration at the doorsteps of the people.

CM claimed door delivery of ration will start in September last year but there is no such thing even in this crucial virus lockdown period. The poor families standing in the long queues are mostly not following social distancing norms in front of the ration shops.

Jagan claimed volunteers brought lot of information on foreign returnees. But there are many gaps in the government’s handling of the returnees. These returnees are largely not following the isolation guidelines to prevent epidemic spread. In a crucial hour, many failures are exposed. Is Jagan Reddy’s pet system of volunteers also a failure just like his elaborate Navaratnalu promises?

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Jagan’s ‘volunteers’ are looting AP people!


In a classic example to prove how AP CM YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s much hyped ‘grama/ward volunteer system’ is flawed, two volunteers appointed by YSRCP government resorted to looting of people in Andhra Pradesh. One of them has committed suicide after he was asked to repay the amount meant for distribution of beneficiaries.

One village volunteer named Gopinath, a 23-year old, is working in Vemareddypalli village in Obuladevara Cheruvu mandal in Anantapur district.

He utilised Rs 84,250 amount for his own needs that was meant to be distributed for poor this month towards YSR pension scheme.

Village secretary Ghouse reprimanded him after beneficiaries complained about not getting pension amount.

Unable to repay the amount, Gopinath committed suicide by hanging himself on Monday.

In another incident, a ward volunteer named A Suresh snatched the gold chain for a 75-year old woman, who approached him for old age pension.

Mattapalli Rajyalaxmi submitted application to Suresh for pension.

Suresh visited her house to collect a copy of her Aadhaar card.

After noticing that the old woman was living alone in the house, he snatched gold chain from her neck and fled away.

The woman complained to police following which the Jaggayyapeta police have registered a case against him.

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Are Grama Volunteers political workers?


The much-talked about Grama Volunteers system has started in AP today. There are still many doubts whether these can be called government jobs. The honorary payment is just Rs. 5,000 per month. For this, they are recruited through interviews. In the name itself, it is indicated that a volunteer job is to provide their services with a service motto. Amid such discussions, CM Jaganmohan Reddy has made a statement that sparked a lot of negative speculation in political circles.

Jagan has said that he will make efficient volunteers future leaders in his party. This is being objected to considering the need for bringing accountability and transparency in their functioning. These Volunteers are supposed to deliver welfare benefits and services to the beneficiaries. Each Volunteer has to take care of 50 households.

These Volunteers services have assumed a lot of significance in view of their crucial role at the village and ward levels. Moreover, all the Navaratnalu welfare cash transfer programmes have to be implemented through them at micro level. There are concerns that any irregularities and corruption on the part of Volunteers will bring bad reputation to the government and the ruling party. Such fears obviously forced the CM to motivate them to do selfless service. But field level politics are sure to pollute Volunteers system as days pass by.

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Vijayasai controversial video leaked on Volunteers


YCP MP Vijayasai Reddy has landed himself in trouble by making controversial remarks on appointments of Grama Volunteers. A secret video is being circulated in which Vijayasai is talking about how Volunteer jobs are given to their party activists who have worked hard in the election. The MP was explaining to the party activists how care was taken not to show any discrimination along caste and community lines in these jobs in village and ward levels. In the process, he said that it was verified whether a candidate belongs to YCP or not.

TDP National General Secretary Nara Lokesh promptly gave a Tweet providing a link to the controversial video. He said that from this, it is evident how the ruling YCP is misusing the recruitment process along political lines. For the sake of creating employment for 4 lakh YCP activists, the Jagan Reddy government is endangering livelihoods of 10 lakh staff working in village and ward levels all over the state.

Lokesh said that as expected, the YCP government has begun a big scam of misusing public funds of Rs. 12,000 crore by diverting them to his party activists in the name of Grama Volunteers. Lokesh said that Vijayasai mistakenly revealed the ruling party’s cruel intentions while addressing the YCP social media wing meeting.

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YCP tactics for iron grip over Grama Volunteers?


The ruling YSR Congress Party leaders are using a novel technique to keep newly appointed Grama Volunteers in their tight grip for the next five years. These leaders are taking ‘prior resignation letters’ from Volunteers forcibly. They want to use these letters if any Volunteer turns against their party interests in future. The YCP leaders are doing this all over the state as they are afraid that after becoming government employees, these Volunteers may slip out of their control.

During the previous TDP rule, there is no such problem. There were Janmabhoomi Committees on which there were Mandal level officials in addition to local people’s representatives. Because of this, only the ruling TDP leaders’ influence worked at that time. Now, the YCP is also trying to retain a firm grip on rural administration and distribution of welfare sops through the Grama Volunteers. For this, the ruling party leaders are now forced to follow illegal and objectionable methods like getting advance resignation letters.

This has become a subject of debates within the government employees’ unions. They are asking where is the need for all these Grama Volunteers amid lot of publicity when they have no minimum job guarantee. Though these appointments are taken up through DSCs, there are rumours that almost all Grama Volunteers jobs are filled at the recommendations of local YCP leaders.

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Chaos at Grama Volunteers’ interviews


Engineering, degree, inter and 10th class qualified candidates have also applied for Grama Volunteer tests in Andhra. There is so much demand for a post that gets Rs. 5,000 per month in village and ward levels. The demand is because of so much influence that this post will bring. Whatever, these appointments and their tests have become a matter of laughing matter everywhere. Even the officials conducting interviews are confused about their real role in deciding the successful candidates.

Like never before, the so-called government posts of Grama Volunteers are going to be selected based only interviews. The officials on interview board will award marks and send the lists of candidates along with marks to the higher authorities. The final list of selected candidates will be decided at a higher level.

The marks secured by a candidate in his qualifying examination will not be the criterion for selection. There is no guarantee whether the interviewing officials’ marks will be really considered to select the candidates. There is a lot of suspicions even among applicants that all these interviews are simply a farce as the local MLAs and ruling party leaders have already their own candidates for Grama Volunteers. This is why many applicants have stopped attending interviews as well. Officials are also saying there is no legality or sanctity for these jobs being given only based on interviews.

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