AFTER spotting a number of cases of Area Welfare Officers (AWOs) using letter heads printed with Ashoka Emblem, the department of personnel and training (DoPT) on Monday issued a circular asking for “strictly” adhering to the…
existing instructions that prohibit such usage. “It has been observed that some Area Welfare Officers are still using letter heads printed with Ashoka emblem which is contrary to the instructions issued on the subject by this Department (DoPT). All the Area Welfare Officers are requested to strictly comply with the said instructions”, said DoPT’s Chief Welfare Officer (RWA) GS Arora in a letter to AWOs dated April 17.
DoPT nominates AWOs in various states to look after the welfare of Central government employees and their families. For example, the DoPT last month nominated Srinagar-based administration officer of the ministry of social justice and empowerment as AWO to look after the welfare of the Central government employees and their families stationed in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Similarly, the DoPT in February nominated an IPS officer as AWO in Delhi for the calendar years of 2017 and 2018.
The functions of the AWO include co-ordination between CGHS hospitals and the beneficiaries in the government, helping employees in medical exigencies, acting like a liaison officer in community halls, education directorate etc., and investigating cases in neighborhood disputes, just to name a few.
As AWOs are even mandated to mediate in family disputes, they become quite close to the residents living in various areas. For example, one of the functions for AWO is as follows: “To mediate in family disputes to bring about harmony in home life in the context of the Home Ministry circular for maintaining the wife in a reasonable comfort and matter relating to notation of monograncy”.
The emblems are allowed to be used among others for visiting cards and greeting cards of officers “specified in Schedule-I” and for “legitimate representational purpose”, official publications of the government, films and documentaries produced by the government, stamp papers, government advertisements, banners, pamphlets, boards, etc., identity cards, licenses, permits, etc., issued by the government, websites of the government, coins, currency notes, promissory notes and postal stamps issued by the mint or press of the government of India, medals and certificates by the government, invitation cards for functions of the government, representational glassware crockery and cutlery used at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, Raj Bhawans, Raj Niwases and Indian Missions or Posts abroad, commissioned or gazetted officers of the armed forces etc.