Begging is on the increase in Gurgaon, a satellite city of malls and multinationals, with a survey finding that growing numbers are joining the profession. Families prefer to send their children to beg rather than to school.

These children earn huge amounts of not only Indian cash but also foreign currency which they get from expats and tourists. Since they do not know how to convert it into Indian rupees, they prefer to play with it in their free time, the survey discovered.

The families of about 3,000 beggars, on average, earn nearly Rs.20,000 a month and are not ready to give up their “business,” the survey said. Children are the main source of their income.

Survey in public spots

The All India Citizen Alliance for Progress and Development (AICAPD) and Innovation Mobile Schools, in partnership with the J.K. Business School, Gurgaon, conducted the survey on 6,000 roadside beggars in the age group of 6-14 years.

The survey was conducted between January 25 and February 5 in various places in the city, including metro stations, malls, traffic signals, railway stations and bus stands, where 4,000 girls and 2,000 boys were found begging.

Around 95 per cent of the children had never been to any school, 80 per cent were residing under bridges and near traffic signals, and 20 per cent came from Khandsa village near Gurgaon.

The purpose of the study was to find out the exact number of migrant roadside beggars and connect them with the right to education.

The survey said the average income of each child was nearly Rs.5,000 a month. Many of them earned over Rs.12,000 at times. Children too preferred begging to school, the study found.

No family holds any identity proof, including ration card. Most of the beggars are from Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Around 10 per cent of the children were brought to Gurgaon by contractors from rural areas of Bihar and Jharkhand and were pushed into begging.