By Prarthana Mitra
The Delhi-government is planning to launch a vocational training program for those living in abject poverty. After Delhi-based Rajesh Kumar Sharma set up classrooms for slum children under a railway bridge in 2015, and in the wake of the stellar results of government schools in the CBSE examinations this year, the latest drive by the Arvind Kejriwal-government targets street dwellers and beggars.
The detailed plan to launch vocational training courses for the often overlooked demographic who are largely illiterate and currently have very little economic independence, identity or social security aims to provide them with a better future.
Here’s what it entails
The initiative aims at implementing a practicable vocational training program, whereby, beggars currently housed in government housing will be instructed in tailoring, handicrafts and other necessary skills to enter the job market.
Those who enrol will be remunerated with Rs. 250 on a daily basis for sustenance, and issued formal identity cards which will hopefully motivate others to join the programme as well. The scheme also wishes to award relevant kits, like sewing machines, to those who successfully complete the course and enable them to set their independent businesses up.
It is not clear whether the proposal will be tabled at the House any time soon, however, this scheme would be a concrete and comprehensive step towards liberating those in abject poverty.
Can this cure India’s problem with homelessness?
Previous attempts to deal with street dwellers and beggars, who form the majority of India’s burgeoning homeless population, has not borne desired fruits.
The social aspects of the homelessness problem are further intensified by the huge economic divide between different classes, especially in metropolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai, where begging is considered to be a punishable offence. Beggars and street dwellers often are sent to government homes, but inevitably end up on streets again for the lack of sufficient resources.
The only precedent for this scheme happens to be a programme initiated by the Maharashtra government earlier this year, which aimed at incorporating 70,000 of the beggars into the state’s workforce. As the Delhi government now gears up to strike at the root of the homelessness problem, the scheme addresses a more fundamental issue, hoping to find an answer in the widespread illiteracy among India’s underprivileged masses.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.