Dial 1098 to help rescue Delhi’s child beggarsJanuary 17th, 2009 - 11:54 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) The next time an innocent little face peers through your car window at a traffic intersection in the capital, begging for alms, reach for your cell phone and dial the welfare helpline number 1098.It’s a Delhi government initiative to rescue child beggars. There are nearly 58,000 beggars in the city, the majority of whom are children accompanied by their parents.
“This practice (of children begging) is a disease,” said Social Welfare and Labour Minister Mangat Ram Singhal. Talking about the helpline, he said the caller would be expected to provide details about the location of the child beggar and continue on his or her way.
The number 1098 was actually started in 1998 as a child helpline, but from February it will be used to draw attention to the problem of child beggars. It will be manned by NGO workers spread over five zones.
Unlike the police helpline, officials would not appear immediately at the place from where a person calls. “Children who are regular offenders would be identified at permanent locations, then the ‘beggar squad’ would pick them up,” Singhal told IANS.
“We hope that eventually we will give more speedy solutions. This is not a permanent solution,” he added.
“We have an adequate number of officials on our beggar squad who can identify the children. If they are orphans, the children will be taken to our child homes or other government institutions where they can avail themselves of hostel and technical education facilities.”
Rules state that a child cannot be separated from the parent, but the department seems to have found a way out as far as child beggars are concerned.
“I am responsible not only for social welfare but also the labour department now…The parents too would be identified and booked under child labour laws,” said Singhal. Begging is illegal in the capital but is widely prevalent.
The government is also planning an exhaustive awareness drive about the helpline to “allow citizens to be directly involved in the project”. The campaign will be popularised through advertisements and radio jingles soon.
(Shweta Srinivasan can be contacted at Shweta.firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Beggars' boom in Srinagar despite preventive laws (Letter from Srinagar) - Aug 07, 2012
- Beijing move to end street begging by children - Feb 11, 2012
- Delhi to banish beggars ahead of Commonwealth Games - Sep 01, 2009
- Beggars play hide and seek with Delhi authorities - Jul 31, 2010
- Delhi sends home 200 beggars - Sep 05, 2010
- Romit Raj Shows Concern About Child Beggars! - Jul 01, 2010
- South African creches rent babies to beggars - Aug 17, 2010
- Games around, beggars made to disappear from Delhi streets - Oct 01, 2010
- Helpline in Delhi soon against child labour - Apr 27, 2011
- 'Economic activities behind spurt in human trafficking' - Jul 11, 2012
- Hundreds of Falaks go unnoticed at Delhi's shelter homes - Feb 22, 2012
- Couple arrested for harassing minor maids - Apr 27, 2012
- Delhi temples, gurudwaras roped in for anti-begging drive - Apr 29, 2010
- A village head now, he begs to differ - Dec 07, 2010
- Rajasthan to launch helpline for school kids - Apr 08, 2011
Tags: adequate number, beggar, car window, child beggars, child labour laws, delhi government, education facilities, government initiative, government institutions, labour department, labour minister, little face, mangat, ngo workers, permanent solution, s child, social welfare, speedy solutions, technical education, traffic intersection