YSRC government defends volunteers' system, says checks corruption
DECCAN CHRONICLE | dc correspondent
Vijayawada: Social welfare minister Merugu Nagarjuna on Friday criticised leader of opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu and Telugu Desam leaders’ proposal to scrap the volunteers’ system in Andhra Pradesh and replace it with Janmabhoomi committees.
The minister listed out a host of grounds defending the panchayat and ward secretariat volunteers for the service they are rendering. He pointed out that Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy government has distributed nearly 2 lakh crore by way of direct benefit transfer (DBT) without any room for bribes.
The volunteers, appointed by the YSRC government, go directly to the homes of beneficiaries to provide pensions on the morning of the 1st of every month. This apart, the village and ward secretariat system extends more than 700 services to all eligible people, regardless of their caste, religion or party affiliation.
"The word bribery cannot be found anywhere in our administration," Nagarjuna asserted. He said the whole of India had appreciated the services rendered by AP’s village and ward volunteers who risked their lives during the Covid-19 epidemic for reaching help to people living in various villages and wards of towns and cities.
The minister went hammer and tongs at Janmabhoomi committees, established by Telugu Desam government through GO 135 on September 15, 2014. He recalled that subsequently in 2017, Naidu had issued GO 36 empowering Janmabhoomi committees to extend welfare schemes and grant houses.
Nagarjuna charged, "The Janmabhoomi committees went into the control of Telugu Desam leaders. Public had to pay three months of pension as bribe to get pension, despite fulfilling all norms. If they wanted a house, they had to pay 20,000. In case they sought a loan, the eligible had to shell down 10,000. If they wanted construct a toilet, they had to pay 1,500 as bribe. The Janmabhoomi committees did not provide any benefit to those who did not vote for TD," he stated.
The minister maintained that after the Jagan government has taken over, volunteers are ensuring that all schemes are provided to each one of those who are eligible, regardless of their caste, religion or party affiliation. He said people had thought that the volunteer system will be similar to Janmabhoomi committees. But they have changed their opinions, as volunteers are providing the highest level of service.
Nagarjuna alleged that some vernacular media and their bosses are working as volunteers for Chandrababu. The TD-friendly media is afraid that Telugu Desam will lose once again in Andhra Pradesh. Hence, that media has started a campaign against the services of volunteers.
The minister observed that not confident of his party’s victory, the former chief minister is looking for alliances with Jana Sena or another party.