With homes & degrees, beggars can be choosers | delhi | Hindustan Times
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With homes & degrees, beggars can be choosers

As per a survey, hundreds of beggars in Delhi own houses, many earn more than white-collar workers, some have college degrees. A report by Amitabh Shukla.

delhi Updated: Feb 27, 2008 02:57 IST
Amitabh Shukla

Hundreds of beggars crowding Delhi’s roads and religious places own houses, many earn more than white-collar workers, some have college degrees and several said they picked up a begging bowl as they could not find suitable jobs, a study conducted for the Delhi government has shown.

A survey of 3,526 beggars by Delhi University’s Social Work Department found four had university degrees while six had completed college. All of them hung around traffic junctions in the city. The study said there were about 58,000 beggars in the capital, but NGOs put the figure at around 75,000.

The most comprehensive study on begging in the city since 1959 said a majority of beggars surveyed were illiterate, but 176 of them had finished school and 321 had studied up to primary.

The study said several beggars earn up to Rs 500 a day, higher than several blue and white-collars workers make. Many said they did not plan to take up regular jobs. The study found 21 beggars spent between Rs 150-200 a day while at least 10 spent up to Rs 500.

And that’s not all. As many as 355 beggars have their own houses and cycle or take public transport to reach their begging spots.

Delhi’s Social Welfare Minister Yoganand Shastri said: “Given the seriousness of the problem, our approach will be multi pronged.”