Srinagar Among 30 Key Cities Targeted for Beggar-Free Status

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NEW DELHI: From Ayodhya in the north to Guwahati in the east and Trimbakeshwar in the west to Thiruvananthapuram in the south – the Centre has identified 30 cities of significance from religious, historical and tourism perspective for survey and rehabilitation of adults, particularly women and children engaged in begging.

The ministry of social justice and empowerment is aiming to support the district and Municipal authorities in identifying hotspots and making these spaces free of beggary by 2026. According to officials more cities are likely to be added to this list over these two years. This outreach in 30 cities with places of significance is being implemented under a sub – scheme of the ‘Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprises’ (SMILE).

To ensure monitoring as per the uniform survey and rehab guidelines to deliver on the goal of ‘Bhiksha Vriti Mukt Bharat’ (Beggary free India), a national portal and a mobile app will be launched by mid February by the ministry of social justice and empowerment for real-time updation of data on those identified to be engaged in begging.

The authorities in the selected cities for implementing the survey and rehab will also have to update on the mobile app and portal the progress report on providing shelters, skills, education and rehabilitation.

The 10 places of religious significance where the rehabilitation of beggars will be in focus include Ayodhya, Kangra, Omkareshwar, Ujjain, Somnath, Pavagadh, Trimbakeshwar, Bodhgaya, Guwahati and Madurai. As per the guidelines besides the city administration, the concerned religious trust or shrine board would also be involved in the rehabilitation of those found begging in these locations.

The tourist places include Vijayawada, Kevadia, Sri Nagar, Namsai, Kushinagar, Sanchi, Khajuraho, Jaisalmer, Thiruvananthapuram and Puducherry. Amritsar, Udaipur, Warangal, Cuttack, Indore, Kozhikode, Mysuru, Panchkula, Shimla, Tezpur are on the list of historical cities.

Out of 30 cities, an action plan has been received from 25 and consent is awaited from Kangra, Cuttack, Udaipur, and Kushinagar. Interestingly, the authorities in Sanchi have informed the ministry that there are no persons engaged in begging in the area so a different city may be considered. Meanwhile, Kozhikode, Vijayawada, Madurai and Mysuru have already completed their survey.

According to officials the surveys under progress are following a uniform pattern with questions ranging from basic information to queries regarding reasons for begging; whether they want to leave begging and what they would want to do for livelihood.

The ministry releases funds to the implementing district and Municipal authorities based on the action plan. The roadmap includes survey, mobilisation, rescue and relocation to a shelter and comprehensive rehabilitation through education, skill development and employment for re-integration with the mainstream.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Kashmir Monitor staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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