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Modi government to rope in beggars to promote various schemes

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By Meghna Nair

The current union government is known for the various methods it incorporates to reach out to the general public. Even during the general elections of 2014, BJP proved its mettle in terms of campaigning and successfully garnering the attention of the masses.

The BJP-led NDA government has once again come into news with its latest idea of using beggars to promote various schemes launched by it. The new idea comes from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and aims at publicizing schemes such as Swachch Bharat Abhiyan and Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao etc. through beggars.

According to a recent survey by Delhi School of Social Work, there are approximately 60,000 beggars in Delhi, whereas there are almost 300,000 in Mumbai according to a 2004 Action Aid report.  A report by Beggar Research Institute states that there are nearly 75,000 beggars in Kolkata.

The number of beggars has been increasing since many years. The figures make it ostensible that Mumbai houses the most number of beggars.

Austerity measures after lavish expenditure on the Swachh Bharat?

As stated by a report published in the Mint, the government splurged approximately Rs 40 crores on advertising for the Swachh Bharat campaign. This strategy won’t cost half as much, considering the fact that most of these beggars actually do sing well.

The plan is to train 3000 beggars to sing informative and catchy songs to garner the attention of the masses. As a strategy, it seems to be a sound one, as no one has an easier approach to a huge number of people than a beggar.

The Song and Drama division of the ministry is going to spearhead the project, whereas All India Radio has been given the charge to train the beggars and render them as melodious singers attuned to songs about the government’s schemes.

The project is set to start in Mumbai first and the government plans to roll it out to other cities in a phased manner. Simultaneously, the government plans to seek the help of various NGOs in order to implement the project.

The beggars who will be roped in for the project will be given some remuneration in exchange of their services, and an official was quoted as saying that the government is set to draft the remuneration model for the project.

How will it impact the beggary?

According to reports, the government is also looking to use the training of beggars as a plausible livelihood option.

“Our field publicity reports show that the number of such beggars in the Mumbai’s suburban trains is high and that there are entire families singing and begging for money. Many of them are experienced singers. We are looking at this as a livelihood opportunity. This is a better way to use their abilities,” a government official was quoted as saying in the Economic Times.

Although the initiative of providing livelihood to the beggars is commendable, we cannot ignore the fact that some states condemn beggary and it is regarded as a punishable offence.

The introduction of Bombay Prevention of Begging Act of 1959 even includes “singing” and “dancing” in public places within the definitions of begging.

The law further states that the people caught indulging in beggary can be taken into custody and tried under the law.

In an attempt at probably providing a solution to the problem of beggary and poverty, the government might actually end up doing the opposite—encouraging beggary.

Because even if the government provides some incentives, the beggar will still do what he does best and feels most comfortable doing—he will beg!

This “initiative” by the government leaves some question marks. What about the laws which criminalize beggary? Does this move mean that the government is accepting and de-criminalizing beggary? Will it provide a long term solution to it?

The training that beggars will undergo during this initiative will hardly impart any useful skills that are beneficial in the long run. It cannot be considered as the guaranteed long-term livelihood source, which the government projects it as.

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Achieving Goal of “Swachh Bharat” Will Be True Tribute to Mahatma Gandhi: Ram Nath Kovind

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President Ram Nath Kovind

New Delhi, Oct 1, 2017: Urging cleanliness be made a national movement, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Sunday that achieving the goal of “Swachh Bharat” will be true tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.

Kovind, who is currently in Maharashtra on an official tour, will visit Gujarat, the home state of Gandhi on his birth anniversary to pay tributes to the Father of the Nation.

On the eve of Gandhi Jayanti, the President said that Gandhi Jayanti is an occasion to rededicate to the ideals and values of Mahatma Gandhi, who believed that ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’.

“Cleanliness is not only the responsibility of sanitation personnel and government departments. Today, India is fighting a decisive battle for cleanliness and hygiene through the ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ campaign.

“Let us also commit ourselves to ensuring public hygiene, personal hygiene and environmental hygiene. It is a multi-stakeholder national movement. Achieving the goals of the Swachh Bharat Mission expeditiously will be a true expression of tribute and regard to Gandhiji on his birth anniversary,” he said.

Also Read: Delhi University Students Win the Enactus World Cup 2017 

Describing Gandhi as a man of simple living and a moral preceptor, Kovind said that he gave a new direction to the country through his leadership.

“His philosophy of non-violence and peaceful co-existence is of increasing relevance in the present times. Through the symbols of Charkha, the spinning wheel and khadi, he stressed the message of self-reliance and dignity of labour,” he said.

Kovind will commence his Gujarat engagements with paying his tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at his birth place, Kirti Mandir at Porbandar.

Later, he will attend a function organised by the state government to declare Open Defacation Free status for rural Gujarat at Kirti Mandir.

The President will also inaugurate various projects including upgradation of Veraval and Porbandar fishing Harbour, upgradation of Navibandar, Miyani and Salaya Fish Landing Centre, laying the stone for development of Mangrol Phase-III fishing Harbour, announcement for development of Veraval Phase-II.

He will also foundation stone of Porbandar Phase-II, Navabandar, Mandhavad and Sutrapada Fishing Harbours and inauguration of Mangrol Rural Water Supply Augmentation Scheme of 45 villages at Mangrol, an official statement said. (IANS)

 

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Anushka cleans beach for Clean India campaign

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Mumbai, Sep 29 : Actress-producer Anushka Sharma, who was nominated as a Swachh Bharat Abhiyan ambassador, has lent her support to the cleaning of a beach here.

Anushka on Friday shared a series of photographs in which she is seen cleaning the Versova beach.

“‘An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching’ – Mahatma Gandhiji. Swachh Bharat. Swachhata Hi Seva,” she captioned the image.

Earlier this month, Anushka was invited by Modi to be a part of his government’s ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ initiative. Apart from the actress, Modi had also invited Malayalam superstar Mohanlal to be part of the movement.

On the acting front, the “NH10” actress is currently busy with her next production “Pari”.

She is also launching her clothing line which will be out on October 3.(ians)

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Actor “Prabhas” extends support to Modi’s Clean India campaign

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Prabhas extends support to Modi's Clean India campaign
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Chennai, Sep 29 : “Baahubali” fame Prabhas on Friday said he extends his full support to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Swachhata Hi Seva” movement, adding that he sees the Clean India campaign not as a duty but as a habit.

“As we approach this significant day, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhiji, who always strived for cleanliness, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the great work happening on making India clean and green with the Swachh Bharat Initiative,” Prabhas posted on his Facebook page.

Swachh Bharat: 10 easy steps that will make “clean india campaign” successful

He added that Clean India is something he personally believes in.

“Keeping my country clean and healthy is not just my duty as a citizen but also a habit. To all those who feel the same, let’s continue doing our best for a cleaner India,” he said.

Earlier this month, Modi had written personal letters to celebrities, industrialists and noted personalities to enlist their support for the initiative.

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, Modi said Swachhata is for each of us to practice.

He also said the days leading up to Gandhi Jayanti on October 2 should be about “encouraging widespread participation in cleanliness initiatives across the country.”

Superstar Rajinikanth and filmmaker S.S Rajamouli have already expressed their support.(ians)