A skill development programme to eradicate child begging will soon be implemented in Maharashtra, state Women and Child Development Minister Yashomati Thakur has said and also assured all help to children orphaned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thakur made the announcement in Jalgaon district on Saturday when a small girl approached her and told her that she earned her living by begging.
The minister, who was on a visit to Jalgaon and Dhule districts, expressed anger and disappointment towards police and raised concern over the growing problem of child beggars in the state.
"A skill development programme has been undertaken for child and adult beggars and its strategy will be implemented soon. There are gangs of beggars in many places, so we need to be sensitive about such issues. Begging is a crime under law," Thakur told reporters.
During her visit to Dhule, Thakur met children who were orphaned and rendered homeless due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
She held discussions with officials on how government schemes could benefit them.
On the occasion, the minister also provided an immediate financial help to such children.
"We need to think beyond the government aid and policy for orphans," Thakur said.
She expressed the need for education, nutrition and safety of children orphaned due to COVID-19.
The government will always be ready to help such children. Immediate action should be taken to provide these children with various government benefits, including ration cards, the minister said. These children should also be counselled from time-to-time, she said.
Problems related to their properties should also be looked into immediately, she added.