Photo: Mehang Desai (fotowale.in)
Every now and then as your car stops at the traffic signal, a hand knocks on the window asking for money. You are in a dilemma, should you give them a few rupees or should you not encourage beggary in India?
While this dilemma might seem an unsolvable one, it is important to know the situation of beggary in India.
These facts will help you get there:
1. Homelessness leads to beggary:
There are approximately 78 million homeless people in India, with over 11 million children. Often people come to metro cities in search of work but end up without a job, a home and often – penniless. That is what gives birth to beggars and illegal slums.
2. There are over 4 lakh beggars in India:
According to the Indian government in 2015, there are over 4 lakh beggars in India with 81,000 belonging to West Bengal. There are 4,13,670 beggars exactly- 2.2 lakh males and 1.91 lakh females.
3. There is a law that makes begging illegal and gives provisions to train them:
The Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 was the one of the first provisions to criminalise begging. It did not just make begging an offence but also asked for detention, training and employment of the beggars so they can be taken off the streets.
4. Giving alms to beggars is not a good idea, over 60,000 children are kidnapped and forced into begging every year:
According to slate.com, in 2006, an Indian news channel went undercover and filmed doctors agreeing to amputate limbs for the begging mafia at $200! Begging is a racket – an organised crime industry that makes money and misuses the pity of humans.
5. There are beggars in India who are probably richer than you:
According to storypick.com, a beggar named Bharat owns two apartments valued at 70 lakhs each. Also, he owns a juice shop which fetches him a rent of ₹10,000 a month. His monthly income is ₹60,000 per month! Begging, is his profession. There are many other beggars like him!
6. Beggars in all earned a whopping 180 crore a year in Mumbai – a decade ago:
According to a report in The Times Of India in 2006, the total income of the beggars of Mumbai is 180 crore a year and there are around 3 lakh beggars in Mumbai alone. Imagine the combined income of all the beggars of India!
There are certain organisations in India who help these beggars find employment. Many people who beg, do so to find funds for their various addictions. If you do feel like helping a beggar next time, google a few NGOs or help in ‘kind’ not in ‘cash’.