13th August, 2022 POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
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- The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched the ‘SMILE-75’ initiative.
- The main objective of the scheme is to ensure comprehensive rehabilitation of baggers in 75 identified municipalities as a part of the 75th year of Independence day celebrations.
- The initiative is a part of the Ministry’s ongoing SMILE project.
- The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has launched an umbrella scheme “SMILE: Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise” to cover several comprehensive measures including welfare measures for both transgender persons and persons who are engaged in the act of begging.
- The Ministry allocated Rs 265 cr under Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons, and Rs 100 cr under Comprehensive Rehabilitation of Persons engaged in the Act of Begging for the years 2021-22 to 2025-26.
About SMILE Scheme
- The Scheme aims to provide welfare and rehabilitation to the Transgender community and the people engaged in the act of begging.
- The 2 sub-schemes of SMILE are:
- Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons.
- Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation engaged in the act of Begging’.
- It aims to provide comprehensive welfare and rehabilitation measures to the Transgender community and the people engaged in the act of begging.
- The scheme aims to ensure social security through multiple dimensions of identity, medical care, education, occupational opportunities and shelter.
- The Ministry has allocated Rs. 365 Crore for the scheme from 2021-22 to 2025-26.
- It has provisions for Skill Development and Livelihood under the PM-DAKSH scheme.
Expected Outcome of the Scheme
- Through Composite, Medical Health aims to provide a comprehensive package in convergence with PM Jan Arogya Yojna (PM-JAY) supporting Gender-Reaffirmation surgeries through selected hospitals.
- Providing Housing facilities in the form of ‘Garima Greh’ to ensure food, clothing, recreational facilities, skill development opportunities, recreational activities and medical support etc. to the Transgender community and the people engaged in the act of begging.
- The Provision of Transgender Protection Cell in each state will monitor cases of offences and to ensure timely registration, investigation and prosecution of offences.
- The National Portal and Helpline will provide necessary information and solutions to the Transgender community and the people engaged in the act of begging when needed.
- Transgender face numerous forms of discrimination and injustice, exclusion from participation in social and cultural life, education, and economic sphere, and political and decision‐making processes.
- Issues with Current legislations:
- Discretionary powers to Police to arrest.
- No distinction between beggars and the homeless.
- Different definitions in different States.
- The problem of beggary, like any other social problem, is multi-dimensional. Its roots are found in the diverse patterns of its intertwined and interlocked social fabrics.
- According to an estimate, 3 lakh children across India are forced to beg, using everything from addiction to drugs, to threats of violence and actual beating.
- In India, there is a lack of adequate provision for treatment and social rehabilitation of blind, deaf, dumb or physically handicapped. In the absence of any reasonable alternative, such persons are forced to beg.
- Economic factors which generally prompt people to take to begging. Among these factors poverty, unemployment, under-employment and loss of income are important.
- These are Social problems and have to be seen in a Holistic manner as there are numerous contributory factors such as poverty, unemployment, disability and migration.
- Rehabilitate through rehabilitation Center, Setting up Counseling Committees to interact with them and assist them.
- Sensitizing people and authorities, Coordination of stakeholders such as Civil Society, Government, media, police and Citizens are needed to end this.
- As a progressive and developing society, it is our duty to respect the identity and dignity of all sections of society.
- The Ministry has ensured that each and every need of the Transgender community and persons engaged in the act of begging is taken care of in a most professional way.
- The provision under the SMILE initiative will provide necessary information and solutions to the problems of the Transgender community and the people engaged in the act of begging.