Beggary is a problem. It cripples the development of a society, chaining it to poverty even when jobs are available. In a report drafted by Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, India is still home to 4,13,670 beggars. The report includes a breakup of the number of beggars in every state and union territory. It shows that West Bengal, with 81,224 beggars, is the state with the highest number of beggars while the union territory of Lakshadweep has only 2 beggars.
Several beggars are able-bodied men and women who have the ability to work, but choose to beg since they can easily scrape more from beggary than through daily wages. They instil the same mind set in their children who can often be seen begging on the streets too along with their parent(s). This is a problem that needs to be addressed. How do we build a positive ideology towards work among people who have got used to the whole process of standing at the traffic signal and cajoling others to give them some money?
The answer to this question is a complex one, and the solutions have hardly been effective because traffic signals because the streets of big cities and towns are still filled with beggars. The law holds a beggar responsible for his or her position. They are seen as a menace, a nuisance in the society. Very few try to reason with their condition and even fewer are willing to do something to end the problem.
Temple of India Foundations works closely with the beggars in Kharghar. We encourage them to send their children to the local government school so that their children do not suffer the same fate as them. Since they are homeless people, and living on the streets has made them realize that beggary is a means of easy money, many families shy away from employment and some even force their children to beg.
While a change is necessary, it is not easy.