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SMILE-Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise

Published: 21st Mar, 2022


Recently, Rs 265 crore allotted for rehabilitation, welfare of transgender from the financial years 2021-22 to 2025-26.


About SMILE Scheme

  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowermenthas formulated a scheme “SMILE – Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise”.
  • SMILE includes two sub-schemes –
    • Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons
    • Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation of persons engaged in the act of Begging
  • Financial allocation of Rs 100 croresfor the period 2021-22 to 2025-26 for the scheme.
  • This scheme covers several comprehensive measures including welfare measures for persons who are engaged in the act of begging.
  • The focus of the scheme is extensively on rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, basic documentation, education, skill development, economic linkages and so on.
  • The scheme would be implemented with the support of State/UT Governments/Local Urban Bodies, Voluntary Organizations, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), institutions and others.
  • Scheme provides for the use of the existing shelter homes available with the State/UT Governments and Urban local bodies for rehabilitation of the persons engaged in the act of Begging.
  • In case of non-availability of existing shelter homes, new dedicated shelter homes are to be set up by the implementing agencies.

Status of Beggars in India:

  • According to the Census 2011, 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 north-eastern states, Assam topped the chart with 22,116 beggars, while Mizoram ranked low with 53 beggars.
  • Recently, the Supreme Court has agreed to examine a plea for decriminalising begging which has been made an offence in various states under Prevention of Begging Act.

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