Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy who introduced many welfare and development programmes and insisted that they should reach the beneficiaries seems to have scored two own goals.
The door delivery of ration which he introduced with much pomp displaying 2,500 of the total 9,260 vehicles bought spending Rs 539 crore for the purpose turned to be a flop show with the jobless youth of various corporations employed as drivers stalling distribution on the grounds that they cannot do multi-tasking of driving the vehicle and also work as coolies weighing the ration and delivering it to the beneficiaries, at the meagre salary to be paid to them.
The youth, who were given the vehicles, were also asked to hand over the left over ration to the officials on a daily basis after supplying the commodities to the card holders.
Ration door delivery vehicles
The vehicles were bought by the government at 60% subsidy and given to beneficiaries of various corporations under the Employment Guarantee Scheme for unemployed youth. The value of each vehicle is Rs 5,81,000 of which
Rs 3,48,600 was provided as subsidy by various corporations and the civil supplies wing.
Soon as the ration door delivery hit an obstacle, Jagan increased the salary of the beneficiaries to Rs 21,000 from the initial Rs 16,000 per month.
However, even the hike had not given relief to the youth as many of them began returning the vehicles citing rise in fuel prices and immense workload.
Significantly, the ration door delivery scheme which was introduced to avoid long queues and waiting at the ration shop failed to impress even the card holders as many of them said that the vehicles were not delivering the essentials at their doorstep. Instead, the vehicle is being stationed at a vantage point in a street and all the card holders are flocking to take their quota of commodities which is almost similar to taking it from the ration shop, not far off from their houses and colonies.
The village/ward volunteer system is also proving to be a failure after Jagan said that the volunteers should remember that their services were not being considered as jobs but as voluntary work (Seva). Following protests from the village/ward volunteers seeking a hike in their salary a month ago, the chief minister reminded that they were rendering their services on voluntary basis and as per their convenience but not on hourly basis per day.
The hike given to the ration door delivery guys within days of introducing the scheme caused anguish to the village/ward volunteers as they felt that despite working hard for nearly 18 months, their services were not recognised or honoured. Soon they hit the roads demanding rise in their pay.
Sensing the trouble, Jagan advised the volunteers not to abandon the voluntary services just because they were not getting good salary. He said that the volunteers would gain reputation and respect from the public for their services. He also announced that awards would be given for their services, like Seva Ratna and Seva Mitra, apart from good incentives. Jagan directed the officials to chalk out an action plan to felicitate the volunteers on the eve of Ugadi.
However, these words did not appease the volunteers and many of them are reportedly quitting their jobs while the remaining have lost interest in serving the poor and needy.