With the help of villagers and ward volunteers, 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 went door-to-door across Andhra Pradesh to deliver the monthly pensions to 59 lakh retired employees.
The volunteers had covered 53 per cent of pensioners by morning, 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.
Ever since the outbreak of coronavirus, the Andhra government has been utilising the volunteers to monitor the foreign returnees in the state, deliver essentials to people at doorsteps, and deliver welfare doles.
The ward and village volunteer system was unveiled on August 15 by Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy, 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.
The system is aimed at ensuring efficient and corruption-free delivery of the government’s welfare schemes to households, according to the State government.
Each volunteer will be paid Rs 5,000 per month and the person has to ensure that benefits reach the people in the 50 households in the village. In towns, ward volunteers have been appointed. The volunteers will be in the age group of 18 to 35 and the minimum qualification is SSC in tribal areas and Intermediate in other areas. The volunteers should be locals in the village. It is estimated that the State Government will have to spend roughly Rs 1,200 crore per annum on the scheme.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh saw a jump in the number of Coronavirus cases with 17 testing positive since Monday night, taking the overall tally to 40, the Medical and Health Department said in the latest bulletin. As many as 14 of the 17 new patients had attended the Jamat congregation in Nizamuddin area of New Delhi between March 13 and 15. While one person got afflicted upon his return from Medina, two others contracted it from a Mecca returnee in Karnataka.
(With Inputs from Agencies)