Internship Opportunity: Swaraj Abhiyan, Drought Duty, Noida: Apply by June 30

Background Information

1. Pre-independence, drought management was restricted to prevention of famines. Tight cost control and just-enough for subsistence was the guiding principle of the colonial masters.

2. Post-independence, the colonial mindset continued to prevail and there was no legal framework for drought management.

3. In the last two decades, right to relief during natural calamities such as drought was recognized as a legal and constitutional right. National Disaster Management Authority was formed. Right to Food/Food Security Act (though not related only to drought) was enacted. Manual of Drought Management was created.

4. Possibly due to global warming, adoption of wrong agricultural and water management practices and other incorrect interventions in rural planning, droughts have become recurrent and widespread.

5. Traditional water conservation infrastructure (check dams, ponds, water channels) has been destroyed and there is no effective method by which rainwater can be stored and ground water recharged. Rampant bore wells have depleted aquifers.

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6. Drought determination is now possible with satellite data provided by ISRO.

7. Despite advances of technology and creation of enabling legal framework, data on Drought is routinely suppressed by the administration and political establishment, possibly to avoid legal responsibility.

8. Central and State Governments still play blame games and passing-of-the-buck. As a result, drought effected populations are neglected which leads to massive migrations to cities.

9. In 2016, 39% of the land area of India and 40% of the population are reeling under drought. The real number is about 54 crore people. 247 districts of 13 states are in the grip of drought. Hence, it can no longer be considered a localized calamity.

10. Cattle famine has already started – with no fodder and water, cattle have been let loose and are dying nomadic deaths.

11. There is acute drinking water crisis. Food is scarce and food supply through PDS is inadequate. Consequently, there is a sharp dip in the nutritional levels of the affected populations.

12. Swaraj Abhiyan has moved a PIL in the Supreme Court. 17 hearings spanning 40 hours have taken place. The judgement is expected to be passed soon. The Court is expected to pass a favorable verdict.

Expected Net Result

Jai Kisan Andolon, a movement of Swaraj Abhiyan, has decided to take up the drought issue as its focal point of attention – the plan is to ensure legal entitlement of relief in the short term, building up of drought resilience capability and complete over haul of the cropping pattern and water conservation in the medium and long term. This is the targeted net-net result we have in view.

Participation, How

1. Drought Data Gathering: Joining survey of drought affected areas and what it means to the rural people, at multiple levels. We have questionnaires ready. This will enable information-driven and reasoned response to the crisis.

2. Water Resource Mapping: Joining surveys to map the water resources of villages.

3. Entitlement Information Dissemination: Disseminating information about rights and entitlements that rural people have, under the laws and the order that is likely to be passed by the Supreme Court.

4. Assisting in Paperwork: Access to entitlement requires paperwork and interns can help rural people in completing such paperwork.

Participation, Why

1. Report to Nation: The data gathered from surveys will be used to prepare a report to the nation that will be put before the government, administration, civil society and all experts so that all plans for battling drought are made based on ground level information and realities. So, the interns are participating in building of a knowledge based governance plan of the country.

2. Water Management Plan: The data gathered from water resource mapping will be used to prepare a village level watershed management plan that will lead to restoration of the traditional knowledge bank and implementation of projects based on local intelligence rather than the presently used centralized planning.

This will help in creating long term solutions for mitigating droughts. So, the interns are participating in restoration of traditional knowledge and action for combating climate change.

3. Certification: All interns will be awarded Certificates of Participation, signed by luminaries in the field of social action.

4. How can it help you: There is an increasing trend and demand towards social projects & Social Venture Capital Experience and exposure will be of immense help in the career growth. An exercise as this gives exposure to ground realities and its challenges. It will help you by providing exposure to undertaking surveys, coming up with innovative out of box solutions



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