House repairs for the old; medical emergency issues; setting up systems in the ward or vaddo to make sure that those who need ordinary help, get it and those that need major help in job hunting, or setting up a business, get the required contacts to approach in both govt and private sector. Set up state of the art crèches in every ward for rich and poor so working parents can go about their business. This will bring everyone under one umbrella, private and public sector.
HELP will be a facilitator, to knit society and aim (like the Kingdom of Bhutan) to raise the Gross Happiness Index of the state.
Setting up the network:
Call all panchas, sarpanchas, councilors, chairpersons of each taluka and tell them about HELP and what is expected of them. Get the people to a public area, each should bring a snack enough for two and provide tea. Once the residents are gathered, educated volunteers need to go to each member of the ward and note down their details of name, address with landmarks, age, gender, Aadhaar card number and bank account number. Let each councilor and panch make a list of areas of expertise of people in every ward and vaddo. Also list the help each person needs.
This is a vital database, so they will have to be very thorough in information gathering. Talk to people individually and collectively. Two questions have to be asked of every citizen:
Their answers have to be written in point form. The elderly may need help to get chores done around the house, or someone to run errands for them, or they may need food or money or medical care.
The help that the elderly can give the community is knowledge and experience. Also history. They may also be wealthy individuals and want to set up a scholarship for a worthy cause. Most of all they will feel valued.
Those who can write, must write it themselves, those who cannot, volunteers must do it for them.
They bring all this knowledge back to the HUB (or the HELP Uber Bureau) at the Planning & Statistics Dept and it will be entered into a computer with back-up on a separate server and an external hard drive.
Shape of the Network
A village HELP committee will have to be appointed by the villagers in a snap poll. Each committee will have the following:
Their contact details, telephone, email must be given to every member of the ward or vaddo.
All the vaddo committees together will select a five-member committee at the village level. The committees of all the villages will select one five-member committee at the taluka level. All the talukas will select one five-member committee at the district level. These two district committees will be at the State level.
No monies, wages or honorarium will be paid to the members, although, travelling and out of pocket expenses will be reimbursed against proper bills by the government or private body that puts the HELP project together.
If any one of the 5 committee members cannot continue in office, he or she will be immediately replaced by snap poll. The tenure of each committee will be one year.
They cannot be re-elected. In this way anyone in the waddo gets a chance to be in a position of responsibility for one year.
Any complaints about any committee members will be sent directly to the HUB at the nodal point in the Planning Dept through a toll free helpline number. If there is an emergency situation, proper professional help should, through this network, reach the victim within minutes.
The HUB must have people of excellence
The HUB at the helm at the Secretariat or headquarters, will oversee the feeding in of all this information. A toll-free helpline must be set up where calls can be diverted to the relevant persons in charge of different areas like schemes, medical emergency units, disaster management, education dept, police.
The staff has to be at the top of their game, not nose-picking clock-watchers. They must have fire in them to work for Goa. Let them be paid well too with the written understanding that if they cannot work well they will be removed.
They have to be intelligent; have to have people skills and need to think on their feet. Whoever is the nodal person in the Hub will have to check each recruit. Merit only. No influence. From the HUB they can shift to other departments. No one should stay longer than 3 years.
IT advice will be needed on how to set up a fool proof unhackable system for the database. If for instance money has to be sent to an old woman in Canacona, there has to be an acknowledgement from the bank and from the old lady. In this case the vaddo or ward 5-member committee will be involved. They will have to make certain she gets the help she requires.
The HUB has to initiate periodic surprise inspections to see that help is reaching the people.
This system is to meant to set up support systems for society, in terms of emergency and ongoing help. Misuse can creep in the database itself being sold to telemarketers. Systems have to be put in place to protect the privacy of the citizens. The HELP committee will have no jurisdiction in giving permission for construction etc. Their job is to merely see that citizens get timely help and support when it is required. A toll free helpline must be set up for the citizen to lodge any complaints regarding the committee members.
The HELP network can keep tabs on the vulnerable among us in our neighbourhoods. The elderly, the infirm, the young. The community can be there for each other. If help is needed from village, or taluka, or district, or State level, it can be extended in a matter of minutes. The young can help the old, the old can help the young. The rich can help the poor, and the poor can help the rich. This system was there during the good old Gaunkari system days. We are losing too many people to suicide, it’s time to get proactive and build a happy society. And of course the HELP network will keep the MLAs on their toes and force them to do the job they were elected to do. How? Because the HELP network is in a position to galvanize large numbers of angry citizens within minutes.