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Jagan promises to restore volunteers’ system after elections


Continuing his statewide public outreach Memantha Siddham campaign, chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy reached Palnadu district on the 11th day of the Yatra on Monday where he started his day by holding a close and intimate interaction with the pensioners.

After speaking with the driver’s community in Tirupati, Jagan today held an interaction with old-age, widowers and disabled pension beneficiaries in the Podili area of the Darsi assembly constituency, Palnadu district. The event turned out to be a boon for the pensioners as it opened a channel of communication for them to directly inform Jagan about how the doorstep delivery of pensions has changed their lives.

The crucial interaction came at a time when more than 33 pensioners died last week due to distress caused by an inordinate delay in pension delivery as the beneficiaries toiled to collect their pensions from their Sachivalayams under the scorching hot sun. The delay in pension delivery happened after the opposition parties led by TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu complained to the Election Commission to restrain volunteers from doing doorstep delivery of pensions.

Speaking at the event, 55-year-old Patra Prabhavati from Darsi Village, conveyed her ordeal and expressed the pain she underwent to collect the pensions this month. ‘I have pain in my knees and can’t walk, but for Rs 3000 this month, I had to go from pillar to post. I was told to visit 3 places to collect the money,’ Prabhavati said while interacting directly with the Chief Minister. Furthermore, she went on to insist Jagan bring back the volunteer system after retaining the power in the forthcoming polls. She said, ‘We need a volunteer system, and we need Jagan again. All the ration, pension, and schemes were sent to our doorsteps, our MLA candidate Shiva Prasad used to come door to door to know about our well-being. Even during COVID, all schemes were delivered to our doorsteps. That’s the kind of leader Jagan is a man with a good heart.’

Responding to her request, Jagan again gave his reassurance to the people of the state and stated that his first signature after assuming office in 2024 would be to revive the volunteer system.

Not just the elderly, disabled pensioners present at the venue also expressed their views with the CM, one among them was Narsimha Rao, who said, ‘I want to remind everyone that before 2019, there was a committee called Janmabhoomi Committee which took bribes from disabled people. If we wanted pensions, we had to pay money for it. You lived up to your promise when you hiked the pension money. You also promised to send a volunteer to my doorstep as God’s messenger.’

Taking note of the pensioner’s remarks, Jagan responded by saying, ‘It’s heartening to see the widespread appreciation for the volunteer system. However, Chandrababu, who held the CM position for 14 years, didn’t even consider initiating such a system. His focus seemed to lie elsewhere – in establishing Janmabhoomi Committees, engaging in business dealings through them, and succumbing to corrupt practices. His tenure was marked by discrimination based on party affiliations. In stark contrast, reinstating the volunteer system remains a priority for us. Rest assured, my first signature upon assuming office will be dedicated to this cause.’

Addressing the gathering, Jagan further informed them that the ‘YSRCP govt is spending Rs. 2000 crore per month, which is Rs. 24000 crore per year. In the last five years, we have spent over Rs 90,000 crore on pensions, which is higher than the other states in the country. If we look at other states on their pension expenditure, Bihar is spending Rs 4,300 crore, Uttar Pradesh (Rs 5160 crore), Karnataka (Rs 4700 crore), Telangana (Rs 7,180 crore).’

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