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Beggars are doing very well, thank you

The beggar asking you for a rupee at a traffic intersection in Delhi may be as educated as you. And if you’ve just begun working as a call centre executive, chances are, he may be earning just as much as you.

india Updated: Jul 24, 2009 00:58 IST
Vikas Pathak

The beggar asking you for a rupee at a traffic intersection in Delhi may be as educated as you. And if you’ve just begun working as a call centre executive, chances are, he may be earning just as much as you.

This revelation was made by Minister of State for Social Justice D. Napoleon.

The question he was asked in the Rajya Sabha: what is the number, educational qualifications and earnings of beggars in Delhi?

Pat came the minister’s reply: Four postgraduates and six graduates. And 22 earned between Rs 200 and 500 a day.

The survey was conducted by Delhi University’s social work department.

Taking Rs 500 as the upper limit, their income comes to Rs 15,000 a month. This is close to what many young IAS officers and lecturers not claiming HRA — accommodation — would have been paid before the Sixth Pay Commission hiked their salaries.

Anyone capable of spending more than Rs. 20 a day in Delhi — the minimum amount that can fetch food worth 2,100 calories — is considered above the poverty line. This means these 22 distinguished beggars earn between 10 to 25 times that of a poor person in Delhi.

Napoleon said the population of beggars in Delhi at any given point of time is 58,570.

The government is taking steps to curb begging, Napoleon said — regular raids are conducted to apprehend beggars, shelter homes have been set up and campaigns are on to desist people from giving alms.