Government promises effective machinery to curtail the social evil

Members cutting across party lines on Wednesday criticised the failure of various government agencies in curbing begging in the State, particularly those using children as ‘bait’, and urged the government to take stringent action to end the social evil.

The issue came up for discussion on a calling attention motion raised by Tara Anooradha, who said children were being drugged and used as ‘bait’ by professional beggars in Bangalore and other parts of the State.

In the written reply by Minister for Social Welfare H. Anjaneya read out in absentia by Leader of the House S.R. Patil, the government said it was finding it difficult to deal with children aged below seven as they cannot be sent to beggars’ rehabilitation centres (Central Relief Committees) along with their mothers.

Mr. Patil said the Minister for Home K.J. George would soon convene a meeting of Ministers for Social Welfare and Women and Child Development and legislators and officials of the departments concerned to discuss measures to curb begging and to amend the Act, he said. The government too is concerned about the social evil, he added.

‘It’s an industry’

Ms. Tara demanded stern action against officials concerned. She was joined by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members Bharati Shetty, S.R. Leela, Congress members Motamma, Dayananda, Government Chief Whip S.R. Venkatesh, Janata Dal (Secular) member Basavaraj Horatti and even Deputy Chairperson Vimala Gowda.

Members said begging has become an industry controlled by a mafia, who has contacts at high levels in the government.

Help from public

At the same time, the public too should avoid being generous towards beggars and help the government to curb the practice, they said.

Mr. Dayananda said transgenders resorting to begging and threatening people has been affecting the image of the city. Intervening, Leader of the Opposition D.V. Sadananda Gowda said the Karnataka Prohibition of Beggary Act, 1975, has become ineffective.

‘Revamp needed’

The Act needs a thorough revamp as a male aged below 18 and a female aged below 16 cannot be confined at central relief committee centres. He urged the government to amend the Act to effectively curb begging.

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