I was returning from work. With me was my client. Our car stopped at a busy traffic signal. It was little chilly in the air, so we have closed the windows. A boy approached us and tapped at the window glass. He extended his right hand and signalled us to give him him some money. My client is against begging. I also do not support it. We signalled him to move away. He looked at us for sometime and kept waving his hand. Then he moved away to another car. Traffic light turned green and we also moved.
This is routine on traffic signals in Delhi. Sometime it will be a girl child. Sometime a woman with a child in her arms. Every one of us is a witness to begging at traffic signals. Some of us give some money to them. Some say we should not encourage them.It is a problem no doubt. What should be done and how it should be done and who should do it? It is question which remains unanswered.
National Secretary, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, says, “The child beggars are part of a forced beggary racket. They are trained how to carry crutches to appear disabled on road and later paid Rs 10 or 20 as commission out of their daily earnings... There are gang leaders that include females also, who keep a check on the beggars so that they could not steal the money. Or if children are found doing so they are beaten black and blue for that... In Delhi, many individuals in Rohini’s Lal Quarters area, have been allegedly running training centres for child beggars. Areas like Delhi ’s Mahipalpur, Mehrauli and Vasant Kunj traffic signals are the main begging points.
We reached my place. I thanked my client. He said that he had been thinking. If properly empowered that kid could become India's Prime Minister. Yes, why not? I said it casually and smiling but it made me thinking. YES, WHY NOT?
Empowerment is what they need, but it is not a priority for those who can do it.