Maha govt to re-launch drive to rescue child beggers in Mumbai

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Mumbai, Jan 14 (PTI) The Maharashtra government hasdecided to re-launch its drive to rescue child beggars in themetropolis, in order to curb this practice and rehabilitatethese children.

The Women and Child Welfare Department in collaborationwith the Home Department and help of NGOs, will rescue childbeggars from roads, slums, religious places and sendto remand homes for further rehabilitation.

"We want these children to get education, food andcare. They are forced into the begging and the government istrying to rehabilitate them like other children," Minister forWomen and Child Welfare, Varsha Gaikwad told PTI.

The same drive was launched successfully two years backby Home Minister R R Patil which gave good results.

Some children, who came from other states were also sentback to their parents but the drive stopped after an allegeddetention of a school-going boy and the flak it attracted forforcefully sending children into remand homes.

Admitting the problem is a complex, the Minister saidthat preventing children from begging is the initial step todeal with it.

"In later stages related causes like poverty,unemploymentof parents, having more siblings can be tackled. The childrenare taught to beg at early age which affects their future.

They get into bad company to fulfil their money needs. Itshorrible that they get involved in crime. At least in remandhomes, they would be monitored by authorities," Gaikwad said.

The minister also sought public participation in thedrive to rehabilitate the children. The common people willingto help these children can provide some assistance even at theremand homes, so that the process of rehabilitation would besupervised, she said.

There are over 4,000 child beggars in Mumbai while over200 children were rescued during the first drive two yearsago. The government has 46 remand homes with a capacity ofmore than 4,000 children.

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