Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Dr. Virendra Kumar launched the ‘SMILE: Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise’ initiative in New Delhi. The Initiative aims to make cities, towns and municipal areas begging-free and make a strategy for comprehensive rehabilitation of the persons engaged in the act of begging through the coordinated action of various stakeholders.
The Ministry has allocated a total budget of a hundred crore rupees for the project till 2025-26. Through the project, the Ministry envisions developing a support mechanism for holistic rehabilitation of those engaged in the act of begging and building an India where no person is forced to beg in order to survive and fulfill their basic needs.
The Ministry highlighted that under the initiative seventy-five Municipal Corporations in collaboration with Non-Government Organisations and other stakeholders will cover several comprehensive welfare measures for persons who are engaged in the act of begging. It said that Municipal Corporations will also focus extensively on rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counseling, awareness, education, skill development, economic linkages and convergence with other Government welfare programs.