Ujjain: The specific law for child begging in Madhya Pradesh is in force from 1974, but satisfactory results are not coming in the direction of its elimination. The nature of child begging has changed in the face of the efforts being made by the Union and State governments at the ground level.
At shrines, now the children selling flowers, raksha sutras or applying tilak are also a new form of organised begging. The department of social justice, the police and the child protection departments still don’t have a better coordination, so lakhs of children from poor families are trapped in the swamp of beggary.
This was stated by the jurist Sher Singh Thakur, associated with the MP Institute of Social Science Research, Ujjain during the 28th e-seminar of the Child Conservation Foundation (CCF) organised on Sunday.
He regretted that beggary is considered as an isolated issue, while the fact is that child begging is directly related to child trafficking, sexual exploitation. He said that there is no standard operating procedure (SOP) on child begging in other states of the country.
The e-seminar was attended by child rights activists from Ujjain Child welfare Committee including Dilip Bhargava, Vinita Kasliwal and Jagdish Sharma and from across Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra and Jharkhand. The programme was conducted by the CCF joint-secretary Lokendra Sharma and CCF secretary Kripa Shankar Choubey proposed a vote of thanks.
State goes without nodal officer
Thakur said that the department of social justice is authorised to eradicate this work in Madhya Pradesh, but no nodal officer at the ground level is posted in the State. There is no coordination at the local level for implementation of the Prevention of Begging Act 1974 or the will. He said that apart from the JJ Act 2015, there are various provisions in the Indian Railways Act and IPC, but the problem remains intact even today in the sense of awareness and coordination. There is a provision of punishment up to 10 years against the elements who force to employ children below 18 years of age for child begging.
Need for central portal
Thakur further said that social and family rehabilitation of children freed from beggary is a difficult task as the children engaged in this work come from very poor families and also face problems in the case of nomadic communities. Emphasizing the need for a central portal like child labour for beggary, he said that in the changing times, we need to take up the challenge of this beggary with citizen accountability.
CCF president Raghavendra Sharma in his address said that child begging can be eradicated through social participation. Apart from government provisions in parallel with awareness, we need to look at practical aspects. Dr Sharma briefed about the innovations on the issue in the Bhopal Metropolis. He assured that suggestions to ensure the initiative of SOP construction for elimination and implementation of child begging will be taken up at the government level.