To take the district administration to the doorsteps of villagers, starting from February 20, all Revenue Department officials, including the Deputy Commissioners and tahsildars, will visit 227 villages on every third Saturday of each month to hear the grievances of the marginalised sections in villages.
Revenue Minister R. Ashok on Tuesday chaired a videoconference meeting with the Deputy Commissioners of all districts and said all DCs, tahsildars, revenue inspectors, surveyors, and all other officials of the department, except the clerical staff, would stay in villages for 24 hours on every third Saturday of each month. In case of a holiday falling on the third Saturday, the programme should be taken up the next day, he said.
The decision has been taken as a large number of women, the elderly, and physically challenged persons were finding it difficult to the get to the office of the DC, the Minister said.
During their village stay, the officials should look into problems related to pension due to the elderly, widows, and physically challenged persons, the issuance of BPL ration cards, land encroachment, identifying government land, providing road facility to the village, anganwadi buildings, facilities at hostels, and other matters, Mr. Ashok said.
While the DCs and other officials will spend a night in hostels, the women staff will stay in houses, he said.
The DCs have to clear all the applications on the spot by ordering tahsildars and revenue inspectors to address the grievance. The programme is to start at 10 a.m. and officials are to hold meetings with elected representatives between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on the same day.
No invitations will be printed for the programme and officials have been told not to receive garlands from the public. No expenditure is to be incurred by officials for the village visits.
Remote villages have been identified already to provide justice to the people who have been denied the benefits of various government schemes, he said.
Mr. Ashok also said he would stay in a backward class students’ hostel at Hosahalli in Doddaballapur taluk on February 20. He said he would go around a Dalit colony and consume food prepared by Dalits on that day.
To eliminate brokers and middlemen in taluk offices and provide pension to eligible candidates, the Revenue Department has launched the Navodaya mobile app to identify beneficiaries for various pension schemes.
Officials will identify the persons eligible for pension and transfer the amount each month to their bank accounts. The bank accounts of beneficiaries will be seized if they are found to not be withdrawing the money for eight or nine months, and such beneficiaries will then be considered as falling above the poverty line.
The State government spends ₹7,500 crore annually for providing pension to the poor and those aged above 60. During a recent verification drive, nearly four lakh bogus applicants were deleted and it saved the State exchequer ₹500 crore a year. The same amount will be used to give pension to the new eligible applicants, Mr. Ashok said.
All those people whose annual income is below ₹32,000 and who are aged above 60 are eligible to receive old-age pension. A total of 69 lakh people are receiving various kinds of pension in the State.