It is not an uncommon sight to see children begging on the streets in the country with sprawling slums and mushrooming roadside establishments. You will find many kids begging on the railway stations, outside metro stations, movie theaters, temples, tourist places, parks and many areas. The moment your vehicle halts at the traffic signal, you’ll see little children in shabby clothes with pictures of Gods in dilapidated plates asking for money.
Disturbing Statistics of Child Beggary in India.
Begging has become a serious social issue, and in spite of economic growth, the situation is deteriorating for those living below poverty line. Our country is a home to more than 400 million children under the age of 18 years. In fact, children constitute to 55 percent of the population. These kids represent diverse social-economic groups, cultures, religions. Despite the best efforts by government, there are innumerable children subjected to exploitation. The children begging on streets are more prone to abductions, kidnapping, assaults and abuses.It is appalling to know that around 3 lakh children are beaten, drugged and forced into beggary every day which has become a multi-million rupee business industry controlled by human trafficking cartels.
Children begging on streets are swarmed around us. There are a lot of causes behind such social issue. Following are the few amongst many:
- The first and foremost is easy money with no labour.
- Abject poverty forces people into begging further coercing their children to implore
- There are many organised gangs who kidnap, sell and buy children for the
- purpose of beggary.
- Many children are abandoned by their families and end up in the entropy of this cobweb.
- There are refugees who persuade their kids into beggary for food
- The government intervention is less, and therefore they fail to retain children.
- Lack of education and awareness intimidates children, and they end up begging on streets.
- Drug addiction
Is begging a scam in India?
Begging connotes to scam in India. In fact, it has become a racket in our country. Children go out to earn money by begging. In metropolitan cities like Delhi, Noida, Gurugram gang leaders allot a particular area to a group of beggars and extort their earnings. It is strange, but it is true that they earn a lot. Since children fetch them more money, the mafias keep them abreast. The children are also trained to be persistent while begging. Few of the kids grew up to be anti-social elements who get into drugs and becomes part of robbing and killings.
Laws framed against child beggars in India.
Every part of the legal system has stood against vicious cobweb. As per The Bombay Prevention Begging Act 1959, begging has been criminalised between the age group of 0 to 18. Under this act, a boy below the age of 16 and a girl below the age of 18 years cannot be forced beg, and people found guilty under this law are deemed to be punished for the minimum period of one year to a maximum of 3 years. This act has also been framed against culprits who exploit kids for alms.
The other law like The Traffic Police Notification which falls under the Motor Vehicle Act states that a penalty will be imposed to a motorist who gives money to beggars.
As this vicious circle revolves, child beggary continues to be a contagious disease. The government has passed an amendment making education compulsory and a fundamental right to all children between the age group of six and fourteen years through Right to Education.
What are the Plausible Solutions to stop Child Beggary?
Begging is growing at an alarming rate in the country. Here are the few plausible solutions:
- Compulsory schooling for all children under Right to Education Act.
- Awareness Program through NGOs
- Launching effective children helpline
- The child-friendly environment in government schools.
- Adequate rehabilitation facilities
- Strict and exemplary punishments to begging mafia
- Surveillant shelter homes for children.
- Railways should keep a close eye on the routes as children are mostly trafficked through routes.
Every year 100,000 children disappear, according to official figures, most of them girls. Some must work in households or be sold as brides. Other than child laborers put into factories and used for begging. reports the human rights activist Kundan Srivastava stated by derStandard.at, der tagesspiegel, rp.online.
The Voice Raiser feels that Child beggary is not just halting the country’s progress towards development but it is also acting as a parameter to determine illiteracy, poverty and many other overlapping social issues. With government intervention and citizen efforts,we can battle this gradually.
Featured Image: A street beggar carries her child as she begs at a bus station area in Jammu, India, Friday, April 4, 2008. (AP Photo/Channi Anand)