Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s initiatives to connect with the youth at the grassroots level seem to have worked quite well for the party in the 15th Lok Sabha elections. One such initiative was ‘Aam Aadmi Ke Sipahi (the common man’s soldier)’ or AAKS.
Devised by Team Rahul, the concept envisaged forming groups of youth to work at the panchayat level to facilitate, assist and sensitise the masses, besides creating awareness among them on availing the benefits of the UPA government’s “pro-people” schemes.
“The idea of AAKS emanated from Rahulji’s vision of the necessity of the youth to connect with the grassroots level and popularise pro-people schemes of the UPA government,” said AICC secretary Jitendra Singh.
The team now plans to involve 18 lakh AAKS volunteers in 6.5 lakh panchayats across the country. “Each panchayat will have a group of three AAKS volunteers with one of them necessarily a woman,” Singh said. “An AAKS in each panchayats will act as a points man, listening to the problems faced by the people and helping in resolving those.”
The group would work to ensure that people derive benefits from the UPA government’s flagship schemes such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme Act (NREGA), the world’s largest social security scheme, Right To Information (RTI) Act, a transparency law, and Bharat Nirman, an initiative aimed at strengthening the country’s rural infrastructure including water supply, power, housing and roads.
“AAKS will focus on NREGA and ensure that the benefits of the scheme, which has now been extended to the entire country, reach the common man,” Singh said.
The volunteers will also make the people at the grassroots level aware of the RTI, educate the people about filing of applications and other procedural issues regarding the Act.
“Similar exercise will be undertaken in other UPA programmes such as pension schemes, loan waiver for farmers and public distribution system,” Singh said.
Professionals would give training to these volunteers across the country. “They will be provided with kits containing achievements of the UPA government, application models, information regarding all the programmes and publicity material such as pamphlets, banners, T-shirts and posters,” Singh said.