The Times of India, October 19, 2016: Poor rainfall, bad crop and the resulting debt-trap have threatened their very existence. But if this has been the life of farmers of UP, help is at hand-the hands of commoners and affluent alike, with the rich in the world to the common man to be roped in to aid the poor through crowdfunding.
On Tuesday, a small but significant step was taken in this direction in Lambhua block of Sultanpur-the constituency of BJP MP Varun Gandhi. He handed over keys of 28 newly built houses to families from the weaker section. These houses have been built from Varun’s personal funds and donations from locals, comprising the common and the elite. The beneficiaries were chosen on the basis of three criteria-those who failed to pay loans, who lost crops and those with no assets.
Calling the initiative the beginning of a new social movement, Varun said it had no connection with politics or elections. “The focus is on seeking smaller donations so that it turns into a mass movement and is not confined to a select few,” he said. Through donations, Varun has also raised Rs 18 crore in the past three years which helped make over 3,600 farmers debt-free in his constituency. The concept will now be used to make another 10,000 farmers debt-free in the next one year and would gradually be extended for a pan-India reach.
“For global reach, we will launch a website and App next year so that the affluent of the world get to know about the plight of the poor in UP and help them through crowdfunding,” Varun said.
The Sultanpur MP also suggested the idea of ‘specialist constituencies’, meaning demarcating seats on the basis of specific occupations, like weavers, carpet-makers, etc. He added that youth now want a new kind of politics of hope and welfare. “We are heading towards a public revolution, where each person becomes aware of the needs of the other and helps lead a better life,” said Varun.