While begging is unlawful according to the statue books, beggars have become a permanent part of J&K State especially Jammu. Hordes of beggars can be seen in the small towns and rural areas of Jammu.Beggars usually throng the market places,worship places,bus stands, hospital premises and even Govt offices and educational institutions. Apart from local beggars, Jammu receives thousands of beggers from other States of India. With the passage of each day the number of beggars is increasing. Some incidents of petty thefts by the beggars have also come to notice.The number of local beggars have shot up during the past three decades. Earlier these used to be one or two local beggars in every town of Jammu They would visit different localities on fixed days .Their visit with a Begging bowl was somehow awaited by the households of the locality. Even children of that locality would be amused on seeing their familiar beggars .Today we have scores of local beggars including women, minors and oldies.Persons with physical disabilities have taken to begging due to their neglect by the concerned Govt.department to enroll them for financial assistance.
One thing is clear that rural population to whom the benefits of development and economic advancement do not reach due to corruption ridden system in the state have no other option than to beg.The Govt is required to undertake a survey of rural population that is yet to receive benefits of MGNREGA or other rural specific schemes launched by the central Govt and identify the persons that have adopted begging as whole time job to provide for their family .The authorities should also probe why the benefits of the social upliftment scheme have not impacted the targetted population and should devise remedial measures so that the problem of begging is arrested. The district authorities also should awaken the concerned Municipal Committees ,Police stations and revenue authorities to keep an eye on the beggars .Data with regards to the number,sex and age of this section of population should be updated on a regular basis .I hope that the authorities presiding over district of Jammu will initiate steps to contains the rising menace of begging and impose strictly the anti begging laws.
Bhagota (Panjsoo), Doda