Much has been said regarding beggars across our nation. But it seems that despite the recent economic boom, a large population of beggars are still around; though, not as many in the posh areas. Not to shame the act of begging, but often I see many people who appear healthy and physically abled seeking alms. And many people even hand out money to these healthy-looking people, in turn encouraging them. Begging, I believe is not a crime if the person is in poverty; but it raises suspicion when the person seems abled, yet does nothing to better their situation. Many helpless people are also forced into the profession by organised crime syndicates, further fueling the trade.
The government launched a programme in 2010 under the Department of Social Services for rehabilitation and alternative employment for people engaged in begging. Several NGOs too have played a vital role in assisting the rehabilitation. While the actions undertaken seem to have done some good, the problem continues to exist at the root level. Unless the authorities take strict measures, it appears that beggars, real or fake, will continue to exist.
Neelima Roy, Chattogram