A recent survey conducted by Kannada University, Hampi, revealed that beggars chose to remain beggars, even if they were given the option of an alternative profession.
When beggars were asked if they would leave beggary if offered another job, 57% of the respondents said they wouldn’t. When asked if they would be interested in undergoing job training, 60% of them said it did interest them. However, 34% of them seemed receptive to the idea.
According to the survey, on an average, each beggar earned Rs30 to Rs50 per day.
The pilot survey was conducted to assess the various parameters about beggars. The survey was conducted in Hospet, Kamalapura, and Hampi, which saw participation from 296 beggars living in and around these areas.
The survey was done to assess socio-economic problems. Age, community, religion, health status, physical disability, preferred begging spots, and the duration of begging were the parameters.
Although there are schemes for beggars, nearly 69% of the beggars have not availed any benefit. Only 2% had received EWS houses; old-age pension was availed by 1%, and 16% of beggars got their ration cards.
“This is a pilot survey. We plan to cover the entire state, which will take another six months,” said K Ramalingappa , chairman of Central Relief Committee.
The survey also found that about 75% of beggars do not hail from Karnataka. Most of them are in the productive age of 15-45. “We want beggars below 18 years to go to school and the older ones employed,” he said.
Initiatives are being undertaken to employ beggars in the rehab centre by utilising their skills in making handmade files and other jobs.
“We have an order from the government for 50,000 files, however, there are issues involved with making them work continuously,” he said.
“We want beggars divided into groups based on their age and either educate or employ them,” said assistant professor Janardhan of Hampi University, who conducted the survey.