“Give them identity cards, ban begging”

The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has recommended issuing identity cards with unique serial numbers for the abandoned and destitute women who make Vrindavan their home.

Submitting a rehabilitation plan before the Supreme Court on Monday for the destitute women living under pitiable conditions in Vrindavan, NALSA also demanded a ban on their begging.

The proposal says it is first necessary to improve the condition of women by providing them with basic amenities such as shelter and ration card, pension and bank accounts, following which they should be taken away from begging. If they do not give up begging, they should be dealt with strictly under law, it says. Women resort to begging sometimes because they do not get their pension for several months.

Helpline facility

NALSA has also stressed the need for a helpline and a single window facility with specially trained staff and officer.

The identity cards can be issued by the Department of Social Welfare or through the proposed single window system. To eliminate discrepancy over the actual number of women living in shelter homes, the NALSA proposal — prepared by the District Legal Service Authority, Mathura — suggests that registers be maintained at all shelters and thumb impressions of women taken. This will also prevent misappropriation of funds.

In addition to setting up new shelters for women living on the streets, the proposal also recommends skill development by imparting vocational training, keeping in mind their physical condition and choice. Banks should be issued directions to disburse pension monthly.

Another proposal was submitted by the National Commission for Women, which said the resources donated to the agencies in Vrindavan were not completely utilised for their betterment.

There is an urgent need to streamline the flow of funds and their management so that the ultimate beneficiaries actually stand to gain. There is a need to audit the private agencies who are receiving funds in the name of these widows.

It has suggested creation of a “management trust,” which would be responsible for developing the infrastructure of the area, keeping in mind the aesthetics associated with the legend, since Vrindavan is believed to be Krishna Janmabhoomi and it is a national and international tourist destination.

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