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Youth4Swaraj's Drought Duty internship programme – The real nationalism
Youth4Swaraj, the youth wing of Swaraj Abhiyan, has launched the Drought Duty internship program – a project that is aimed to bridge the gap between the urban youth and the rural farmers.

Moved by the impact of last year's drought duty initiative and the recent experience of yatra in Tamil Nadu, the state that is facing the worst drought in the last 140 years, has led Swaraj Abhiyan to announce the Drought Duty Internship for the second year now.

Drought Duty is a unique attempt at bringing together the farmers & the students – two unrelated but yet significant segments. In this program, youth from all over India visit the farmers in their own piece of land, & experience the ground realities of producing food-grain. It began last year under the initiative of Swarj Abhiyan in collaboration with Youth4Swaraj, National Alliance for People's Movement, Ekta Parishad and Jal Biradari. It is designed for young people to take action for drought relief in affected rural areas.

The entire campaign this year stretches across six weeks, between 25th May to 8th July and spread in five states which are Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The overwhelming response from over 500 youth nationwide, at a short notice of few weeks, for coming forward and helping their fellow Indians, is an assurance that the urban and rural divide can be bridged. The plan is to visit about 40 villages in batches of 13 youth where they will undertake activities such as disseminating information, conducting a survey, map water resources, etc.

Various organisatons like Ashta Sansthan, Association of Rural Education and Development Services, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), Navrachna Samaj Sevi Sansthan, and Mahatma Gandhi Sev Ashram have collaborated with Swaraj Abhiyan in this project

Drought duty teams led by Youth4Swaraj members will visit villages which do not have minimum basic needs and the interns will live the same life as local villagers to understand the exact problems faced by villagers every day. This campaign is to reveal the reality of working strategy of Indian government which is not so beneficial in upraising the conditions of villagers. The government is passing new schemes for the people but they aren't getting proper benefits. Proper measures are not being taken to inform the local people about these schemes. The drought duty teams will work to connect local people with government officials to solve temporary problems of the village.

The aim of the project is to sensitise the urban youth with the conditions of drought and to make them understand the impact of drought on the people affected by it.

Swaraj Abhiyan has been constantly fighting for the rights of the farmers and for relief to the people affected by drought. Last month, Swaraj Abhiyan undertook a 4-day yatra in Tamil Nadu to make farmers aware of their Constitutional rights in droughts situations. It has also filed an appeal in the Supreme Court demanding that the states be ordered to provide relief to the drought-hit people. Recently, the court had summoned Chief Secretaries of 8 states in the case.

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