New Delhi, Jan 17: The Centre is considering a scheme to provide shelter, health care and skill development training to the homeless and destitutes to address the problem of beggary.
Through the scheme prepared by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, the government is aiming at providing a whole range of basic services like food, shelter, health care, counselling and rehabilitation to destitutes.
"Under the scheme, skill development training will be provided to the able-bodied destitutes so as to facilitate their reintegration into the mainstream society so that they may live a life with dignity. "It will also encourage innovative interventions to strengthen the community-based approach towards rehabilitation of destitutes with sensitization programmes etc," said a senior government official.
The problem of destitution and beggary is becoming a major concern warranting urgent attention and intervention in view of the increasing numbers, especially of children and women, the official said.
In order to enhance transparency and accountability in the implementation of the scheme, the details of every beneficiary would be maintained in a computerised database and linked with their Aadhaar number in due course of time.
According to a poverty estimation study by Oxford University, UK, India is home to over 340 million destitute people and is the second poorest country in South Asia after strife-torn Afghanistan.
According to the 2011 Census, population of beggars and vagrants is about 4.13 lakh which includes 3.72 lakh persons under non-workers category and about 41,400 under marginal workers category.
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, during 1992-1993 to 1997-98, had implemented a scheme for the prevention of beggary under which financial assistance was provided for establishment of work centres in the existing beggar homes for providing vocational training and technical education.
The scheme was discontinued from the year 1998-99 due to moderate demand from the state governments.
There is no ongoing comprehensive central scheme directly related to protection, care and rehabilitation of destitute persons.
However, the Centre is implementing a number of programmes for the welfare of vulnerable groups.