Central Government Targets 30 Cities to Eliminate Begging

  • 30 Jan 2024

Recently, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment identified 30 cities, famous for religious centres and tourism, for a nationwide initiative aimed at eradicating begging and relocating individuals engaged in begging, especially women and children.

Key Points

  • Hotspot Identification: District and local authorities will receive assistance in identifying hotspots for begging in the selected cities to make them 'beggar-free' by 2026. More cities may be added to the list over time.
  • SMILE Scheme: The initiative falls under the 'Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprises' (SMILE) scheme. The action plan, funded by the ministry, includes survey, mobilization, rescue, and relocation to shelters.
  • National-Level Portal and Mobile App: To ensure uniform survey and rehabilitation guidelines, a national-level portal and a mobile app will be launched by mid-February. This will enable real-time data tracking and updates for effective implementation.
  • Approval Status: Action plans for 25 cities are ready, while approval for the remaining 5 cities (Kangra, Cuttack, Udaipur, and Kushinagar) is pending.
  • Local Responses: Authorities in Madhya Pradesh's Sanchi district report no individuals engaged in begging, suggesting the potential consideration of another city for the program. Surveys have already been completed in Kozhikode, Madurai, Vijayawada, and Mysuru.
  • Inclusive Rehabilitation: The ministry aims to inclusively rehabilitate individuals engaged in begging through education, skill development, and employment.
  • Implementation Funding: The ministry funds the implementation of the action plan in each identified district, emphasizing a comprehensive approach to rescue, relocate, and rehabilitate individuals engaged in begging.
  • Mainstream Reunion: The rehabilitation process focuses on education, skill development, and employment to help rescued individuals reunite with the mainstream population, contributing to their overall well-being and societal integration.