Every morning as I reach my office, I give 15 minutes to myself to get settled. In those 15 minutes, I spend 10 minutes quickly skipping through the headlines. Following this ritual, when I was skipping through the news posts yesterday, there was one that got me stuck to it.
“Indian city locks up its beggars ahead of Ivanka Trump visit: Hyderabad takes hundreds off the streets for causing ‘annoyance and awkwardness’” (Financial Times, 10 November 2017).
Ban on Beggars in Hyderabad
As I dived into the news post, I found out that Hyderabad police has imposed a ban on begging for two months. Interestingly, the order comes into action days before Ms. Trump’s visit to Hyderabad for Global Entrepreneurship Summit, being held in India for the first time from 28–30 November 2017. The police have already begun tidying up the streets by putting hundreds of homeless into rehabilitation centers. This is reminiscent of situations when people run a frenzy deep cleaning spree of the entire house before a guest’s visit.
Need to Think Beyond Ms. Trump
Hyderabad may succeed in avoiding the social awkwardness at this instance, but should they not think beyond Ms. Trump’s visit? Can the officials not leverage the efforts they put in to detain and rehabilitate beggars for two months and make it a permanent regulation instead? I believe this is the opportunity for Hyderabad to lead the country by example.
Begging a Racket?
There have been various investigations that prove begging is carried out as a racket. However, when you delve deep into the lives of these people to find out why they fall prey to this racket, you would discover their emotion-wrecking circumstances. Most come to bigger cities in hope of a better life but have no idea what awaits them. I choose not to make this article disturbing for you by elaborating on their conditions. Abundant material is available out there for the brave-hearted who can survive a heavier dose of anguish.
Tips to Rehabilitate Beggars
In short, their circumstances lead beggars to this state. Thus, to eliminate the root cause, the officials need to focus on three main things: provide them with shelter, food and opportunity to work. Easier said than done, this little help can seem gigantic if the government is tasked to do it all alone. As I said that Hyderabad should leverage this opportunity, below are some of the ways it can achieve this:
- Make it a big social drive – the power of social media is invincible, if used correctly, one can win many battles;
- Urge the citizens to join hands with the government;
- Ask them to donate daily-necessity items for the less fortunate people;
- Launch fundraising events such as marathons;
- Collaborate with corporates to make this part of their Corporate Social Responsibility or sustainability initiatives;
- Encourage professionals to offer voluntary, skill-based training that can help the less fortunate people to resume their normal lives – give certificates to both the trainer and the trainee;
- Operate a dedicated job agency for the trained people;
- Monitor how well they are re-integrating into the society and take remedial action where needed.
Support this Mission
I am sure thousands of people will come forward if they see the government taking serious actions. After all, each one of us, who is reading this article, is desperate to see India rise and shine. After reading this article, are you thinking what can you do sitting in different parts of the country or even world? You can spread the word by sharing this article on social media. I have tried to voice my thoughts on this article, now it is your turn to amplify the voice so that it reaches the ears of the policymakers.
This is a Guest Post Contributed by Ankita Mehrotra!