Punjab government has received 10,000 applications from retired Army personnel who want serve as ‘good governance’ volunteers as part of a new scheme — Guardians of Governance — likely to be launched in the state by the end of this month. Punjab government claims to be the first state in the country to implement such a scheme. Applications for the same were invited on September 7.
Under the ‘Guardians of Governance’ programme, retired Army personnel will act as volunteers and keep an eye over government projects and governance-related issues. This is expected to cost the state exchequer as these volunteers will be given an honorarium ranging from Rs 11,000 to Rs 50,000 per month depending upon the nature of responsibility.
According to details available with The Indian Express, a total of 13,094 ex-servicemen will be appointed at various levels who will act as Guardians of Governance (GG).
The state government plans to start this scheme in villages first and, after two years, move it urban areas depending on how it works.
At first, one volunteer will be appointed in every village. There are a total 12,700 villages in Punjab. These village-level volunteers can be of any rank and they will be given Rs 11,000 per month as honorarium which will serve the purpose of their telephone and travel expenses.
“They need to keep an eye over the projects going on in the village and in case of any anomaly, they will be asked to report the same to the tehsil supervisor (ex-serviceman), district Guardian of Governance and even to the state officer in-charge. Hence, government departments will be having a constant check by these volunteers and they will act as ears and eyes of government,” said Major General S P S Grewal, who is vice-chairman of Guardians of Governance scheme. He is also chairman of Punjab Ex-servicemen Corporation (PESCO), which will be conduct interviews of these volunteers by month-end. The volunteers will need to send reports through their own smartphones and therefore will do most of the work online, revealed Major General (Retd) Grewal.
He added, “To start with, we will begin this scheme in Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Barnala and Tarantaran districts where 2000 villages will be covered. Once the scheme goes well, we will introduce it in other districts as well.”
Talking about the scheme, Col (Retd) H S Kahlon said, “We hail this new scheme where ex-servicemen will be included in governance related issues. This step is being taken by a state government for the first time. There is corruption and even many other issues, if we talk about working of government offices. So these volunteers who will work on honorarium will bring out the anomalies in the system and hence will help in reducing corruption at various levels.”
Meanwhile, apart from one volunteer in every village, there will be one Guardian of Governance (GG) each in every tehsil, a tehsil supervisor, district GG, district supervisor, state officer in-charge, bill clerk and data operators.
There will be only one state officer in-charge, who will get an honorarium of Rs 50,000 per month, while district GG will be given Rs 40,000 per month and there will be one district GG each in all the districts.
CM Amarinder Singh is the chairman of this scheme, while his adviser, Lt General T P S Shergill, is the senior vice-chairman.