In a bid to improve the lives of those begging on the city streets, Lucknow Municipal Corporation will soon offer employment opportunities to beggars. The civic agency will provide jobs to beggars according to their education qualification.
“Physically handicapped beggars will be put in the shelter homes and the able-bodied ones will be assigned civic duties. We will also try to rehabilitate the street children,” Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) Commissioner Indra Mani Tripathi told news agency ANI.
What is the initiative about?
Lucknow Municipal is carrying out a spot survey of beggars in the city and collecting their details after Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath asked the department to identify beggars and move them into shelters. Once they are identified, they will be given duties ranging from door-to-door garbage collection to daily sanitation. Those who can read or write will be posted in the revenue department.
According to a report by The Hindustan Times, a total of 4,500 beggars were identified in the first phase of the plan. The civic will engage an NGO for deployment of beggars in jobs. For those who will be unwilling to take up jobs, the agency also planning to book them under law.
Are there similar initiatives in India?
In 2017, Hyderabad launched an anti-begging campaign where beggars were picked up from streets and taken to rehabilitation centres. The initiative was conducted by Telangana State Prisons Department. A year later, it introduced an award of Rs 1000 to anyone who informs the presence of any beggar in the city, reports The New Indian Express.
In June 2018, Delhi government’s Social Welfare Department also introduced a vocational skill development programme for beggars which included tailoring, handicrafts and other skills.
Is begging a crime in India?
As per the Delhi Prevention of Begging Rules 1960, begging is an offence in India. Under this Act, beggars are picked up, produced before magisterial courts and sent to shelter homes. The Act was formulated under Bombay Prevention of Begging Act 1959. However, in August 2018, the Delhi High Court struck down the law criminalising begging. The court ruled that people beg on the streets not because they wish to, but because they need to. It also said that criminalising begging is a violation of the fundamental rights of a human being, reports Reuters.
(All images sourced from Indian Express)