GUNTUR: The Home Guards, who have been working dedicatedly to resolve cases and protect the law and order in the society, are seeking regularisation of their services and treating them as Class IV employees. There are 1,400 Home Guards working in Guntur Urban police station limits and another 1,200 in the Guntur Rural police station limits. They work on similar lines to the police department.
They complain of lack of job security and other amenities like the police personnel. The government launched the Home Guards system in 1962 and till 90s, they used to work as volunteers. Later, the unemployed youth started joining as Home Guards as they used to be paid honorary wages. Now, a majority of the Home Guards are considering the volunteering as a full-time job. Initially, the Home Guards used to directly get appointed as police constables on the basis of seniority and skills.
Later, the rules were changed and they did not have any elevation in their status. The Home Guards complained of lack of health cards, APSRTC bus passes, house plots and other benefits. The minimum wages to be given to a Home Guard is Rs 18,000 per month, according to the norms, but Home Guards get nothing more than `400 per day, amounting to Rs 12,00 a month, which is not sufficient to make both ends meet.
Home Guards Association president K. Prabhakar Rao said that recently the government increased the daily wages from Rs 300 to Rs 400 to Home Guards. Despite the low pay, Home Guards have been serving the public like the police, he said. "According to the Supreme Court guidelines, the minimum wage should be Rs 630 per day," he said and urged the government authorities to issue ration cards, house sites and health cards to them.