The Ashok Gehlot-led Rajasthan government has come up with a noble initiative to rehabilitate the beggars across the state by equipping them with necessary life-skills. The pilot project of the scheme has been launched in the capital —Jaipur.
NDTV reported that the 'beggar free' Rajasthan scheme has been taken up jointly by the Rajasthan Skill and Livelihoods Development Corporation (RSLDC) and Sopan Institute of Science, Technology and Management which includes imparting new skills to such persons surviving on the streets.
Reports have stated that as many as 43 beggars, originally from a number of states including Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha and were living in Jaipur have been provided with a shelter where yoga classes, sports and computer classes are being provided to them.
"The Chief Minister of Rajasthan wanted to make the state beggar-free and rehabilitate the beggars. The RLSDC with the joint efforts of the Rajasthan Police conducted a survey on beggars in Jaipur. Then we opened 'Kaushal Vardhan Kendra' where beggars in the batches of 20 are being skill-trained. Following this, they shall be provided with jobs. Once it succeeds in Jaipur, it will be further taken to other districts of the state. We guarantee jobs for them after their training period and we expect to make them better citizens of this country through this campaign," said RSLDC Chairman Niraj Kumar Pawan.
The chairman further stated that the efforts were to ensure that the hands which were once used to beg would be working to earn a dignified living.
The authorities behind the initiative have shared that the training sessions are being tailormade since a lot of points are under consideration while training them.
"They already have many health issues, so we had to conduct a study by talking to each one of them, to understand their physical and mental health issues. Thereafter, we came up with a customised plan to train them. We have included a lot of activities in the plan. We have specifically included yoga asanas that can strengthen their physical fitness irrespective of their illnesses," said one of yoga trainers.
He further said that several other physical activities including football and frisbee have been introduced for them. Even though it has just been 15 days since the training started, many of them have started showing signs of improvement in their health.
"We have made arrangements for their jobs too. Most of these people are aged around 30 and shall be trained as electricians, guards, beauticians and cooks. The Akshay Patra Foundation is ready to give them jobs too. We shall set an example for the world by rehabilitating these beggars and bringing them to the mainstream," said RK Jain, Deputy General Manager, RSLDC, reported Newsgram.
Providing details about the initiative, an official from Sopan Institute of Science, Technology and Management who is part of the campaign said that the steps taken to provide a life of dignity to such persons are a part of the Chief Minister's BHOR Scheme - Bhikshu Orientation and Rehabilitation for poor and homeless people which involves a three and a half months skill training programme.
Describing the detailed strategy for rehabilitation, the official said that it is being planned that each person would get an Aadhar card made and have a functional bank account. The state government has also committed to paying them ₹215 per day which they can save and later on invest in their future business plans.
Speaking about the amenities being provided to them as part of the campaign, Dhanna Lal Teli, a beggar hailing from Bhilwara said, "We wake up at 5 in the morning, get tea at 7, breakfast at 8 then undergo yoga sessions for an hour following which receive lunch at 12. I am very happy here and receiving full care."
As per a report by Hindustan Times, the survey that worked as the preliminary process for the scheme was conducted in Jaipur by the Jaipur Police Commisisonerate. Out of the 1,162 beggars, five were found to be post-graduates and 193 beggars had completed schooling.
It was also found that among others, as many as 39 were literate while 903 were illiterate. Meanwhile, there were 939 male beggar and 223 women beggars residing in the city.
419 of the surveyed beggars had said that they did not want to beg but could not find any work while 27 stated that they wanted to study.
The paper reported that the five beggars with a college education had expressed their willingness to work at hotels, construction sites or in any other unskilled avenues.
"I am from Jhunjhunu and I did my graduation 25-years-ago from a government college. I came to Jaipur to find a job but I didn't find one. Things got difficult for me in the city. For many days I had nothing to eat and no place to sleep. I had nobody in the family, so I was forced to beg in front of others on the streets for my survival," said one of the graduate beggars.
"I am open to any work or job, from a labourer to any other work like cleaning, hotel staff etc. I only expect a decent return through which I can buy my butter and bread and pay rent to live. Everybody wants to live a dignified life and we would be thankful to the administration if they do that," the beggar said.