Bill to rehabilitate beggars passed in Rajasthan

Last Updated: Fri, Oct 12, 2012 12:40 hrs

Jaipur, Oct 12 (IANS) The Rajasthan assembly Friday passed a bill aiming to rehabilitate, train, treat and educate beggars in the state, officials said.

The Rajasthan Rehabilitation of Beggars or Indigents Bill 2012 was presented in the assembly by Social Justice and Welfare Minister Ashok Bairwa.

"It is an attempt on part of the state government to make beggars join mainstream society. Begging is a problem and the act will give beggars an opportunity to live a dignified life," Bairwa said.

The minister said the government's intentions behind enacting the bill were to rehabilitate beggars and provide them with employment opportunities according to their skills and physical strength.

"The bill has all the provisions to fulfill these purposes. We aim at completely wiping out begging from the state," said the minister.

The bill seeks to establish rehabilitation homes in various districts across the state.

These rehabilitation homes will be supervised by the district labour commissioner. The inmates will be provided vocational training, education and treatment.

There will be posts of a commissioner and an assistant commissioner for the homes.

Sources said that prior to the formation of the bill, a survey was done to find out the floating population of beggars that come to the state.

A senior official in the social justice and welfare department said that according to the provisions of the act, beggars or indigents would be dissuaded from begging and persuaded to move to the rehabilitation homes for undergoing training for self-employment or job.

Those who are old and infirm will be persuaded to opt for permanent shelter.

The official said any person who was an indigent and had no source of living and no choice except to seek alms, might also present himself before the superintendent of the rehabilitation home.

If the superintendent is satisfied that the person is an indigent, he might give him admission.

The officer said every inmate would be provided accommodation, food and clothing as per scales determined by the state government from time to time.

"All physically healthy inmates will be engaged in cleaning, cooking and washing utensils and clothes at the home," said the official.

"Admission into the rehabilitation homes will be voluntary. With help from NGOs and volunteers, beggars across the state will be informed about the rehabilitation home and urged to go there. The beggars can stay there for as long as they want and leave on finding livelihood," said the officer.

However, before leaving the home, the person would have to give in writing that he or she would not engage in begging anywhere in the state, the official said.

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