The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has formulated a scheme “SMILE – Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise”, which includes sub-scheme – ‘Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation of persons engaged in the act of Begging’. The focus of the scheme is on providing basic necessities like food, shelter homes, medical facilities, counselling, rehabilitation, basic documentation, education, skill development and economic linkages of the persons found to be engaged in begging. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has identified ten cities namely Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Indore, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur and Patna for undertaking pilot projects on Comprehensive Rehabilitation of Persons engaged in the act of Begging, which provides for the whole range of services including awareness generation, identification, rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, education, skill development and sustainable settlement of persons engaged in begging. In Jammu and Kashmir too, begging is prevalent on a large scale with both locals as well as outsiders seen begging for alms. It is however not a secret anymore that majority of them practice it as a profession and not really because they cannot sustain otherwise. Kashmiris are generally big-hearted and willing to help people in need. However, as we help the poor, we must also ensure not to support anyone’s lack of will to work. Our charity should go to those who really need it and not those who have taken to begging as their occupation. Earlier this year, a 65-year-old beggar turned out to be the owner of over ₹ 2.58 lakh shortly after she was shifted to a shelter home for better facilities in Rajouri district. The unidentified beggar, who was seen roaming the streets of bus stand and adjoining areas over the past three decades, was shifted to a shelter home meant for the homeless to provide them better living. When a party of the Municipal Committee was deputed to clear her ragged temporary shelter outside a veterinary hospital, they were surprised to find three plastic boxes containing notes of various denominations covered tightly in polythene and a jute bag full of coins. While one understands that the money would have been saved by her for years, it also points out that had she received official help and assistance, she would not have had to roam on streets. As per the Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Beggary Act, 1960, which is an Act for preventing beggary and making beggars good citizens, defines begging as (i) soliciting alms in a public place, or in or about a temple, mosque or other place of public worship, whether or not under any pretence; (ii) entering on any private premises for the purpose of soliciting alms; (iii) exposing or exhibiting with the object of obtaining or extorting alms, any sore, wound, injury, deformity or disease whether of human being or an animal and; (iv) having no visible means of subsistence and wandering about or remaining in any public place or in a temple, mosque or other place of public worship in such condition or manner as makes it like that the person doing so exists by soliciting alms. As per the Act, begging is an offence and If any person is found begging, he/she shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and any Police Officer or other person authorised in this behalf by the District Magistrate may arrest without a warrant any person who is found begging and they have to be detained in a Sick Home, Beggar’s Home or Children’s Home for the first time and when a person is convicted for the second time, the Court shall order him to be detained in a Sick Home, Beggar’s Home or Children’s Home, as the case may be, for not less than seven years. However, we know that this law is not enforced properly on the ground. One expects the administration to take relevant measures similar to the SMILE scheme to help the poor and end the practice of begging.