Millennium Post

Social Justice Min’s proposal on beggary rejected

In a major setback to the Ministry of Social Justice, a proposal of the ministry to put a check on begging through a legislation has been rejected by the Law Ministry. 

The Law Ministry has returned the draft of the proposed Bill -- The Persons in Destitution (Protection, Care and Rehabilitation) Bill 2015 -- to the Social Justice Ministry by citing legal issues as begging is a state subject and a central legislation cannot be formed to put a check on it.

Left with no option, the Social Justice Ministry is now mulling to draft a model policy for some states that can be adopted by them on a pilot basis and later followed by other states.

“In the draft, the ministry had proposed decriminalisation of begging, which contradicted the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, as under this Act begging is a crime and a person found begging can be sent to a shelter home or even jail without trial,” a source in the ministry said.

“Given that begging is becoming a menace for society, the draft Bill was aimed at rehabilitating persons in destitution. Now, the Law Ministry has objected to it and retuned the draft. The (Social Justice) ministry will formulate a new policy and ask states to implement it on a pilot basis,” the source said, adding that if the initiative is successful, the Centre would ask other states to follow suit.

“At present, the file is with Social Justice Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot, who is likely to take the decision on the new policy formulation soon,” the source said.

According to official data, the there are 4,13,670 beggars -- 2,21,673 male and 1,91,997 female. The data further reveals that there are 45,296 child beggars, of which 24,378 are male and 20,918 female, while the number of disabled beggars is 70,506, of which 43,141 are male and 27,365 female. 

With 81,244 beggars, West Bengal tops the list, while with just two beggars Lakshadweep stands at the last.
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