Government is planning to undertake the task of identifying and rehabilitating persons engaged in begging as a step forward to implement the SMILE Scheme. It has prepared a list of 75 areas, including Delhi, Tirupati, Guwahati, Patna, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, where municipal corporations will take on this challenge.
- To mark 75 years of independence, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Dr Virendra Kumar launched the “SMILE-75 Initiative”.
- Under the Smile-75 initiative, the identified municipal corporations will undertake comprehensive rehabilitation of persons engaged in the act of begging.
- According to the 2011 census, the total population of persons engaged in the act of Begging and vagrants is about 4.13 lakh. Most of them struggle to gain access to basic needs of food, shelter and clothing, which drives them into a loop of poverty.
About SMILE Project —
- The Union Government has formulated an umbrella scheme “SMILE – Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise”.
- Objective – To provide welfare measures to the Transgender community and people engaged in the act of begging.
- The scheme strengthens and expands the reach of the rights that provide the targeted group with necessary legal protection and a promise to a secured life.
- It also focuses on the aspect of social security by emphasising on providing medical care, education, occupational opportunities and shelter.
- This will be done with the support of State Governments/UTs/Local Urban Bodies, Voluntary Organisations, Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and institutions and others.
- Budget — Rs 365 Crore (2021-22 to 2025-26)
- Nodal Ministry — Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
- SMILE scheme includes two sub-schemes –
- ‘Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons’ and
- ‘Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation of persons engaged in the act of Begging’.
Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Person Scheme —
- The scheme has a provision to provide scholarships to the transgender students studying in IX and till post-graduation to enable them to complete their education.
- There is also a provision of setting up of Transgender Protection Cell to ensure timely registration, investigation and prosecution of offences.
- Through Composite Medical Health it provides a comprehensive package in convergence with PM-JAY (Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana) supporting Gender-Reaffirmation surgeries through selected hospitals.
Comprehensive Rehabilitation of persons engaged in the Act of Begging —
- It will focus on survey and identification, mobilisation, rescue/shelter home and comprehensive resettlement.
- Pilot projects have already been initiated on Comprehensive Rehabilitation in ten cities namely Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna and Ahmedabad.