Indore to become one of first 10 beggar-free cities of India

Indore: Beggars may soon vanish from Indore streets. If all goes well, Indore is set to become one of the first 10 beggar-free cities of India. The city has been selected by Centre as one of top-10 big cities to prepare and implement national-level action plan to end beggary. The campaign, expected to be launched by April, will cover identification, rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, education, skill development and sustainable settlement of people engaged in begging. The Union government has sought participation of other stakeholders including state government, local bodies and NGOs. In response, state social justice department has appointed Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) as ‘nodal agency’ to establish coordination with departments concerned including woman and child development department (WCD), police and Childline for comprehensive rehabilitation of people currently engaged in begging and to ensure that every person has right to live a life of dignity. In current scenario, WCD has responsibility to provide children accommodation in three orphanages of city, who are found engaged in begging, but has no separate shelter home for them. While, social justice department runs state’s only shelter home for beggars above 60 years of age, the same is in dilapidated condition and has given admission only to a few beggars in said category in last couple of years. Besides, there is no shelter home to accommodate men, women beyond these categories and district administration also lacks schemes, projects to rehabilitate them. On receiving Centre’s plan and instructions from state government, district administration has planned a meeting of members of rescue teams to take their suggestions in making action plan while another meeting will be held on February 7 of associations of industries and other departments concerned to help making a rehabilitation plan for beggars. The district administration had formed two separate teams in coordination with WCD, Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), social workers, Childline, Special Juvenile Police Unite (SJPU), labour department and police of respected areas to launch a campaign to rescue beggars. In last four months, joint teams have rescued around 100 children engaged in begging and labour. In Union government’s said project, it will bear 60 per cent funding while remaining 40 per cent share is expected from state government.

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