The shifting of an unidentified beggar a woman to a shelter home after recovery of more Rs 2.58 lakhs from her in Rajouri district of Jammu province is undoubtedly a right move in the right direction but economic empowerment and social adjustment of this woman would be a real challenge for the civil and police administration of the Rajouri district. Knowing that begging could be a compulsion for this woman the possibility of taking her away from begging to better means earning her livelihood can be explored by the authorities who have shifted her to a shelter home. Just ponder and imagine that if this woman would have been taken into government custody on charges of burglary or stealing something from someone in one or the other form what could have been the reaction of civil or police authorities of the Rajouri district. It is also a fact that some people under the garb of begging resort to pick pocketing or burglary attempts and law enforcing authorities deal with them accordingly. The beggars living in shacks as such have to take lesson from this woman beggar but not to taunt her. Authorities have identified one such beggar in Rajouri district but no of such beggars living in shacks in the slum areas of the twin capital cities Srinagar and Jammu and major towns of Jammu & Kashmir won’t be in hundreds but in thousands. When authorities themselves say that this woman has been begging in Rajouri district for about three decades, the recovery of Rs2.58 lakhs is by no means is surprising. Authorities have not to just count the currency notes they have recovered from this woman a beggar but they have to also try to get to the bottom of her tale of begging to know the root cause for the purposes of some remedial measures. Though couple of deputy commissioners in Srinagar banned begging in recent years but ban could not end the growing menace of begging in absence of a target oriented socio-economic poverty alleviation scheme for the beggars.
While some beggars earn their livelihood by making household goods like brooms and toys for children in the evening and morning hours in their shacks in the slum areas, many of them change their shacks into safe heavens for drug addicts and other unlawful activities in slum areas of cities and towns.
Since there are no shelter homes for beggars in any part of Jammu & Kashmir, they are forced to take shelter in temporary shelter homes in slum areas of cities and towns. Better it would be to rehabilitate them at their own ancestral places to facilitate their reunion with the people of the own cultural and linguistic affinities. Never forget that while some beggars earn their livelihood by making household goods like brooms and toys for children in the evening and morning hours in their shacks in the slum areas, many of them change their shacks into safe heavens for drug addicts and others immoral activities in slum areas of cities and towns. Had central government put in place a targeted oriented and a focused centrally sponsored poverty alleviation scheme for the socio-economic upliftment of beggars, the increasing trend of begging would have been reduced both in Jammu & Kashmir and as well as in majority of the states and union territories over the period of years. It is for the top planners, policy framers and administrators both in Jammu & Kashmir and as well as central government to give some thought to the idea of a target oriented and a focused poverty alleviation scheme for beggars.