The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has launched the “SMILE-75 Initiative”.
- SMILE (Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise Scheme) is aimed at making cities/towns and municipal areas begging-free and comprehensive rehabilitation of the persons engaged in the act of begging.
- Under the initiative, seventy-five (75) Municipal Corporations in collaboration with NGOs and other stakeholders will cover several comprehensive welfare measures for persons who are engaged in the act of begging.
- Measures taken: rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, awareness, education, skill development, economic linkages and convergence with other Government welfare programmes etc.
- According to the Census 2011 total number of beggars in India is over 4 lakhs.
- West Bengal tops the chart followed by Uttar Pradesh and Bihar
- Though there is no central law on begging, some states have adopted the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, which penalises beggary.