Saturday, 14 July 2012

Consultation meeting on Beggary held

A second Consultation Meeting on Beggary was organized by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment here yesterday. The Meeting was chaired by the Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment, Shri Mukul Wasnik, and was attended by senior representatives of Government of nearly all major States, Academic Institutions and Non-Governmental Organizations working in this field. There was consensus in the meeting that beggary is a complex issue, which needs to be tackled with care and sensitivity. 

Most of the participants supported the need for a new Centrally-supported initiative for the rehabilitation of beggars. A large number of participants argued for drafting of a model legislation on the subject which States could adopt/adapt as per their circumstances. The proposed legislation should stress on prevention and rehabilitation. However, it should curb the evil of what they called 'organized begging racket' especially in cities, places of religious importance, etc. 

Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment, Shri Mukul Wasnik said that we need to have a strong data base with a view to work out a strategy to deal with issues relating to beggary. For this, he said, he had written to the State Chief Ministers, requesting for basic information about the incidence of beggary, and the existing legal and administrative framework in the States to deal with the problem. The Minister also said that sensitization of the State machinery to various aspects of the issue is imperative to deal with the problem in a humane and sensitive manner and added that the concerned agencies need to be trained to deal with the problem of beggary in a more professional way. 

The meeting also agreed on the need for awareness generation, better implementation of schemes of poverty alleviation and social security, and for provision of community shelters for the urban homeless.

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