A survey conducted by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR)
has brought out a startling revelation. The never-ending dilemma for children who beg to sustain their family- if they beg, they are beaten by the police and if they don’t, then they are beaten by their families. The survey undertook a rapid headcount to assess the number of beggars in Delhi and conducted in-depth interviews of 605 such children. According to the survey, 80% children were forced into begging by their parents.
However, NGOs have pointed out that such people might not be the real parents of the children as there is no documentary proof to suggest that.
Apart from begging, the children also do street-vending and ragpicking. The report released by DCPCR said:
“It is a significant observation that 56.9% child beggars in addition to begging were also involved in other activities for earning. They would spend only 3-4 hours begging and spend their remaining time in other activities. Ragpicking was the most popular occupation followed by street-vending. Some children admitted that they were involved in petty criminal activities such as pick-pocketing.”
How much the child beggars earn? According to the report, earnings of the children varied from less than Rs.30 to over Rs.250 per day and most of them tend to give either all or most of their earnings to parents/caregivers, keeping only Rs.5-20 for snacks or transport. It was revealed that religious places, railway stations, flyovers, traffic signals among others are places where begging is rampant.
Reasons for begging varied from poverty to family profession.
Labelling the survey or study as one-of-a-kind, Arun Mathur, chairperson of DCPCR, said:
“This study will help the government to chalk out plans and address the issue of children begging. This study was done in a systematic manner wherein it took nine months to interview 605 children who were begging.”
Mathur added that a retired professor of Delhi University (social work department) carried out this survey with a team of other surveyors.