THIRUVANATHAPURAM: Taking the example of the village volunteer system introduced by the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s government, which ensures better delivery of various benefits of the welfare schemes to the public at the grass root level, the Kerala government has announced similar plans recently.
The concept of village/ward volunteer system was extremely impactful during the delivery of essential services including ration, pension, and other benefits across districts in AP after the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent lockdown imposed on March 24th.
After a conducting a high-level meeting chaired by the Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, the Kerala government decided to form a network of over 2.3 lakh volunteers who will be provided training and will be responsible for the delivery of essential items and services at the village, ward and on mandal levels.
Speaking on the matter, the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that there was a need for huge manpower to deal with the current situation and facilitate supply of food and other essentials to the needy at the grass root level.
Taking inspiration from the village volunteer system implemented in AP the government decided to form a Community Volunteer Force in every local body in the state.”
Immediately after the meeting, 2,36,200 volunteers were notified for appointment.
- There are 941 panchayats, 87 municipalities and 6 municipalities in Kerala.
- As part of the notification 200 volunteers for each panchayat, 500 for the municipality and 750 for the corporation will be needed.
- Those under the age of 22 to 40 are eligible for these posts. Applications will be received online from the candidates.
The model was adapted from an initiative introduced by the Andhra Pradesh government in which 2.5 lakh volunteers including Auxiliary Nurse Midwifery (ANM) and ASHA workers to provide emergency services.
The AP government also conducted a survey done by the village volunteers, to help the state trace people with travel history to foreign countries and prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections in the state apart from delivering essentials. Their selfless work was highly appreciated by the AP CM, who despite being at a high risk of contracting the disease, continued their efforts to help the people.
On the other hand, many countries across the world are also evincing interest in the village volunteer system. Among them was British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. In Britain, the government has already made preparation to appoint volunteers for 2 ,80,000 villages All of them will work towards efforts to fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.