The trending topic of Andhra Pradesh politics in the last few days is the volunteer system introduced by the Chief Minister of the state, Mr. Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy. Janasena Chief, Mr. Pawan Kalyan attacked on the loop holes of this system in his recent Varahi Vijaya Yatra.
Though there is mixed response among the people in social media and ward grounds, Senani is successful in bringing a thought about this system.
To the knowledge of a common man, a volunteer is one who does social work with a cause and with no expectation of money or any other favour. Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy introduced the volunteer system (to be honest as a part of job calender for unemployment) by claiming that it helps in reaching the government services to every corner of villages in the state. He fixed the pay of Rs.5,000 for each volunteer, whose eligibility is minimum 10th pass and should be local. Allocated a budget of approx. 400 crores for a volume of nearly 2.5 lakh volunteers.
In the primary cause, volunteers helped the locals as carriers for pension amounts, "Amma Vadi" and other similar government schemes. In the period of Corona crisis, volunteer system helped as link between government and common man. This is one side of the coin.
On the other side, volunteers collects the demographic details of each family member along with their financial status, identity proof, feed back on the current governance. In simple words, each volunteer has an overview on atleast 50 families in a village.
Now the main concern here is the selection criteria of these volunteers. Because this volunteer system nearly narrowed the Gram Panchayat system and mediates directly between people and ruling party. No accountability on the confidential data they gather from people. Earlier, a government or it's officially appointed members were involved in the data collection or camps related to government schemes. Data collection was secured with in the government bodies. But here the volunteers selection is mostly through references. In other words, 90% of the volunteers are YSCRP activists. This is even confirmed by it's party core members like MP Vijaya Sai Reddy, MLA Ambati Rambabu and Government Adviser, Saajala Rama Krishna Reddy in few public meetings. There raises the question of data breach.
Pawan Kalyan pinned this flaw of volunteer system. Even highlighted the instances where few volunteers misused their rights and involved in rape cases, money laundering, illegal land captures, frightening the people , cease the who are against ruling party and many more. The data they capture and store in their mobiles is circulated among WhatsApp and Telegram mostly. The confidential data of a State Citizen is available on public platforms which can be easily accessed and may lead to illegal activists like human trafficking, hacking and any possible thorns. The NCB statistics of 30,000 missing women (out of which nearly 18,000 returned), the data of volunteers may also play a crucial role.
With reference to data collection for Aadhaar, earlier Supreme Court has stated that no private person has the right of capturing the confidential information of a citizen, when there is no assurance of data security. Jagan government failed to confirm the authenticity of volunteer system. Even the High Court of Andhra Pradesh questioned the same. Overall one should agree that volunteer system has slimmed its credibility by shadowing the lines of ruling party. It's high time for Jagan Mohan Reddy to come out of silver presence and detail the functioning of volunteer system or correct it's flaws for a better governance.