SMILE-75 Initiative | 12 Aug 2022

For Prelims: SMILE Scheme, Central Sector Schemes, National Institute of Social Defence, National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation

For Mains: SMILE Scheme for beggars and its significance in enhancing their livelihood, Decriminalization of begging, status of beggars in India

Why in News?

The Government of India has formulated a comprehensive scheme of SMILE (Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise) to address the persisting problem of destitution and beggary.

What do we need to know about the SMILE 75-Initiative?

  • Aim:
    • Municipal Corporations, in collaboration with NGOs and other stakeholders will cover several comprehensive welfare measures for persons who are engaged in the act of begging, with focus extensively on rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, awareness, education, skill development, economic linkages and convergence with other Government welfare programmes etc.
      • The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has also allocated a total budget of Rs.100 crore for the SMILE project for coming years till 2025-26.
    • It seeks to develop a support mechanism for holistic rehabilitation of those engaged in the act of begging.
  • Implementing Ministry:
    • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • Components:
    • It includes the sub-scheme of:
      • Comprehensive Rehabilitation of persons engaged in the act of Begging
  • Objectives:
    • To make cities/town and municipal areas begging-free.
    • To make a strategy for comprehensive rehabilitation of the persons engaged in the act of begging through the coordinated action of various stakeholders.

What is the status of Beggars in India?

  • According to the Census 2011, the total number of beggars in India is 4,13,670 (including 2,21,673 males and 1,91,997 females) and the number has increased from the last census.
  • West Bengal tops the chart followed by Uttar Pradesh and Bihar at number two and three respectively. Lakshadweep merely has two vagrants according to the 2011 census.
  • Among the union territories, New Delhi had the largest number of beggars 2,187 followed by 121 in Chandigarh.
  • Among the northeastern states, Assam topped the chart with 22,116 beggars, while Mizoram ranked low with 53 beggars.

Source: PIB