Skip to main content

Extremely low utilization of beggars welfare fund 'erodes' GoI's claimed intentions

By Bharat Dogra* 

The task of helping all too numerous beggars to find a better future while also attending to the urgent welfare needs of those among them who face serious health or disability problems is a big but often neglected task in India. It is good to know therefore that the Department of Social Justice, Government of India (GoI)  has a scheme dedicated to the rehabilitation of those engaged in begging.
Unfortunately, however, the budget allocation for this scheme has been going down quite drastically – from INR 100 crore in 2020-21 to INR 50 crore in 2021-22 to just INR 15 crore in 2022-23. What is even more important is to look at how less actual spending has been compared to even this declining allocation.
In 2020-21, compared to an allocation (or budget estimate) of INR 100 crore, the actual spending was zero. Next year, compared to the allocation of INR 50 crore, the actual expenditure was merely 0.05 crore. For next year 2022-23 the actual spending data for only the first nine months up to 31 December, 2022 is available at present and this shows that actually only INR 0.26 crore had been spent.
Such an extremely low utilization of this scheme is very unfortunate as so much can be done for the welfare of beggars. It is well-known that many of them have been forced by circumstances into begging and some of the child beggars may even be victims of organized gangs. Hence in most cases rehabilitation efforts will be very useful, although in some cases rehabilitation may involve rescue efforts as well.
Apart from rescuing those beggars, particularly child beggars, who may be in the clutches of some organized gangs, there is also the urgent task of reviewing the cases of those homeless or poor persons who have been wrongly picked up or targeted in the course of anti-begging drives. Then there is the related task of reviewing some laws which increase the possibilities of injustice being done to poor and homeless people in the name of anti-begging drives.
Rs 150 crore were allocated for two years, 2020-22, but only Rs 5 lakh was spent. In 2022-23, the allocation was reduced to Rs 15 crore
There are several experienced social workers and organizations, lawyers and legal aid organizations and also senior or retired officials who can contribute much to human rights work related to this issue as well as to various creative humanitarian rehabilitation efforts giving new hope to thousands of persons who have been badly caught up in unfortunate circumstances which force them to survive on begging in very difficult conditions, often in conditions of homelessness or near homelessness.
This effort can also be linked to some other very relevant work relating to the wider issue of sheltering all homeless persons. If the entire amount of INR 150 crore allocated for this scheme during two years 2020-22 had been spent in creative ways, involving the best available expertise on this issue, a lot could have been achieved from the INR 150 crore allocated for the financial years 2020-21 and 2021-22. But unfortunate only INR 0.05crore or INR5 lakh was actually spent, making hardly any impact.
As for 2022-23 with reduced allocation of only INR 15 crore and spending up to 31 December 2022 of only INR 26 lakh (data only up to this date is available at present), there is not much evidence at this juncture of any important work being done.
However, learning from this dismal experience, it is important to remove the problems which have retarded the effective utilization of funds so far and make a new beginning this year. The allocation of INR 20 crore in 2023-24 should be raised at the time of preparing Revised Estimate so that a promising beginning can be made this year regarding this important but neglected scheme which can potentially do a lot of good.
---
*Honorary convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include ‘Protecting Earth for Children’ and ‘When the Two Streams Met’

Comments

TRENDING

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).

Women innovators on simple, revolutionary alternate solutions for water problems

By Proshakha Maitra, Mansee Bal Bhargava* The detrimental effects of uncontrolled population rise and accelerated change in the global climate have posed tremendous pressure on the water and sanitation. This calls all stakeholders, from both developed and developing nations, to improve their resilience and to instigate sustainability. It is more crucial than ever to optimise the use of the resources we have on hand since the world population is projected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050.

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Alleged killing of another Bangladesh youth inside Indian territory: NHRC inquiry sought

By Kirity Roy* There was yet another incident of the killing of a Bangladeshi youth by the Border Security Force personnel attached with ‘Barthar’ BOP of ‘G’ Company of 75 BSF Battalion. In last five years several incidents of killings happened under this police station’s jurisdiction and the cases will get the award as “Not Guilty” as usual.

Modi model, Hindutva icon 'justified' alliance with Muslim League before Independence

By Shamsul Islam*  Our PM describes himself as ‘Hindu’ nationalist and member of RSS. He proudly shares the fact that he was groomed to be a political leader by one of the two fathers of the Hindutva politics, MS Golwalkar (the other being VD Savarkar) and given the task of establishing Hindutva polity in India after eradicating secularism.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Crusader for people’s causes, this Hollywood actor entered 'unexplored zones' in US

By Harsh Thakor*  Marlon Brando on April 3rd completes his birth centenary. He perished in 2004, on July 1, aged 80 years. Arguably in Hollywood Brando penetrated sensitivity and versatility at an unparalleled scale and discovered new horizons or explored path breaking zones in acting.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Insider plot to kill Deendayal Upadhyay? What RSS pracharak Balraj Madhok said

By Shamsul Islam*  Balraj Madhok's died on May 2, 2016 ending an era of old guards of Hindutva politics. A senior RSS pracharak till his death was paid handsome tributes by the RSS leaders including PM Modi, himself a senior pracharak, for being a "stalwart leader of Jan Sangh. Balraj Madhok ji's ideological commitment was strong and clarity of thought immense. He was selflessly devoted to the nation and society. I had the good fortune of interacting with Balraj Madhok ji on many occasions". The RSS also issued a formal condolence message signed by the Supremo Mohan Bhagwat on behalf of all swayamsevaks, referring to his contribution of commitment to nation and society. He was a leading RSS pracharak on whom his organization relied for initiating prominent Hindutva projects. But today nobody in the RSS-BJP top hierarchy remembers/talks about Madhok as he was an insider chronicler of the immense degeneration which was spreading as an epidemic in the high echelons of th

India 'neglecting' air, water, vegetation as its world air quality index ranking decelerates

By Dr Gurinder Kaur* The World Air Quality Report 2023 , prepared by a Swiss technology company IQAir, was released on 19 March 2024. According to this report, India is the third most polluted country in the world after Bangladesh and Pakistan, and the capital of India, New Delhi, is the most polluted capital in the world.