Patna, Nov 24 (IANS) The Bihar government has now planned a scheme to rehabilitate Patna's beggars. The Bhikshu Welfare Scheme will provide them an opportunity to be self-reliant and to live with honour and dignity.
"The state cabinet has approved Rs.22 million for the launch of rehabilitation package for beggars," Girish Shankar, prinicipal cabinet secretary, said Friday.
According to sources, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is likely to launch the scheme Nov 24, the day his government completes two years in office.
Under the scheme, all beggars, including the disabled and minors, would be issued identity cards.
Aged beggars would be admitted to an old-age home, minors would be provided education facilities, and able-bodied beggars would be engaged in various activities to earn livelihood.
Women beggars will be trained to earn livelihood with respect, sources said.
The state government will extend the beggar welfare scheme to other Bihar cities if the scheme proves successful here. There are nearly 10,000 beggars in Patna.
Last month, the state government decided to set up an innovative school-cum-home for daughters of beggars in Patna to provide them a safe shelter and training in vocational courses.
The centre, likely to be called Balika Grih, will be set up soon, said Vijay Prakash, state welfare department secretary.
"It will be the first of its kind in Bihar with the sole aim of providing an opportunity for personality development to these girls," Prakash said.
The Bihar government has approved the project, which will cost the state exchequer Rs.2 million annually.
One of the main aims of the Balika Grih is to prevent girls from begging. A recent study on beggars revealed most of the daughters of beggars were forced into begging due to lack of job opportunities.
Apart from education, they will also be trained in dance, music, handicrafts and fine arts.
A study on street children in Bihar revealed nearly 200,000 kids, including 50,000 minor girls, were engaged in begging.