Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 23:

In a significant move, Odisha government is set to launch a scheme to make the state beggar free. With the implementation of the scheme, nobody will choose begging as the means of livelihoods.

According to the proposed scheme, survey will be conducted to identify the beggars in the state. Later, they will be rehabilitated preparing them for employment in various sectors for income.

Meanwhile, the Department of Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) has issued a directive to all the RDCs and district collectors asking them to conduct a survey by forming a committee. The survey will be conducted in the beggar-prone areas including various temples, religious institutions, hotels, villages, sea beaches, sources said.

Under the proposed scheme, the beggars will be provided land for construction of houses. If required, the government will help in building their houses. Besides, they will be provided the Aadhaar cards and ration cards. The government will include them under National Food Security Act (NFSA).

Following beggar identification process, the beneficiaries will undergo health check up and they will be provided better treatment in the hospitals if diagnosed with some physical illness. Later, they will be provided vocational training so that they can get jobs. In some cases, financial assistance will be provided to the beneficiaries from Chief Minister’s Relief Funds (CMRF). The elderly beggars will be rehabilitated in old age homes and the women beggars will be sent to the short stay homes. The government will provide houses to the beggars afflicted with leprosy.

Further, the beggars will be provided free education. Their children will be provided scholarship and all the beggars will come under health insurance coverage facilitating them free treatment in all the government and private hospitals.

The government has decided to provide all types of facilities to the beggars under the State’s social security scheme.

There is a proposal to honour 25 beggars on the occasion of Independent Day or Republic Day in districts.

The government has asked the district administration to take initiatives so that the beggars will be self dependent both physically and psychologically. The proposal has been sought from the district collectors for rehabilitation of beggars. The district collectors will be awarded whose proposal will be selected as the best, said SSEPD secretary Nitin Chandra.

Notably, total 4,13,670 beggars (2.2 lakh male and 1.91 lakh female) are registered in India. The highest number of beggars is recorded in West Bengal with 81,244.