From April, you may not find beggars seeking alms in Bihar, as the government is contemplating a plan to make the state beggar-free by March 2021.
It has identified 2,200 beggars in the state capital and has been motivating them to give up begging and start any business of their choice, for which the government will provide financial support.
These beggars are being provided Aadhaar card to help them open their bank accounts. Consequently, the state government will provide fiscal assistance of Rs 10,000 to each farmer to start their business. “It could be any business — selling vegetables or fruits, or working as a newspaper hawker, or even a milk vendor,” opined Randhir Kumar, a senior official of SAKSHAM, an organisation working with the Social Welfare Department.
Originally, the idea was conceived by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar a while ago, but it will be implemented now with Social Welfare Minister Ashok Choudhary at the helm to make the state beggar-free in the next two months. “This is a part of ‘Mukhyamantri Bhikshavriti Nivaran Yojna’ where we are motivating the beggars to stop asking for alms and start their own business,” said the minister.
Sources said 18 beggars have so far been given Aadhaar cards, bank accounts and a cheque of Rs 10,000 each to start their own business.
“Some of them want to sell vegetables. Others want to sell eggs. Some others want to sell milk. But there are still many who do not want to give up their ‘lucrative job’ of begging, as it gives them ‘rich dividends’ without much effort,” a senior official averred.