Govt plans to make the State beggar-free by January next

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Oct 2017 09:28:02


By Ajay Mardikar,

Proposal to amend existing law mooted

Maharashtra Government has announced an ambitious mission to make the state beggar-free, even when virtually nothing has been done since the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act was passed in the year 1959. The State Government now plans to make the state free from beggars by January 26, 2018.

The Act, which was first enforced in the state of Bombay (now Maharashtra), was extended to the Union Territory of Delhi, has not been enforced strictly. A large scale amendments in the Act or even replacing it with the new one has been proposed by the state government. The draft for the same is ready and is being discussed, according to the Superintendent of Certified Institution (Beggar Home) M M Kamble.

The Institution at Patankar Square, on Thursday has 42 beggars, 27 male and 15 female, who will be produced in the court for seeking the direction on their punishment.
The Act provides for punishment to the person who indulges in begging. If found begging second time, the punishment could be upto ten years, of which two years could be rigorous imprisonment.

Kamble agreed that the law has not been implemented strictly. The reasons could be many, including the attitude of the people who extend alms to the beggars, as a religious act. The government has also appealed to the people not to give alms in a manner that beggars continue to remain as beggars.
The Act also provides for punishment to the person who is dependent on begging or compels children to beg for him or her. The parents of child beggar can be punished under the law.

Kamble, while talking to The Hitavada, spoke about need for overhauling of the Act. He quoted example of Dubai, where on certain occasions advertisements are floated announcing venue for donation. Those who wish to accept it come to the place to collect it. There are no beggars on the street. Such donations are part of almost all the religions, but not as alms.

Kamble also agreed that thousands of beggars can be seen near any religious place in the city. The efforts are to control them with the help of police.
For the first time two departments are involved for implementation of the same Act - Police and Department of Women and Child Development. The police force will be responsible for arresting the beggars and they will be kept in Certified Institution under Women and Child Development Department.

The habitual beggars will be kept in the Institution and will be imparted training to help them in leading remaiining life with dignity, instead of begging.
Maharashtra Government has appealed to the people to extend co-operation in implementation of the law and reformation of the beggars.