Beggars, choosers | india | Hindustan Times
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Beggars, choosers

india Updated: Jul 29, 2008 20:35 IST

Hindustan Times
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In these gloomy times, Bangladesh often leads the way with innovative social ideas. A group of beggars from northern Bangladesh has come up with a proposal that can redefine the terms of the social contract. The beggars are creating an awareness campaign among politicians and the public-at-large for a minimum alms rate.

The small change they typically receive hardly ensures subsistence. Accordingly, they have urged the local council to set one taka as the minimum rate to take care of the soaring cost of food items and other essentials. Prima facie, this demand is sound economics. Bangladeshi beggars have to subsist on $1 or 68.52 takas a day. Even with earnings of 100 takas, they are experiencing erosion in their living standards.

A minimum alms rate ensures the iron law of subsistence works. There’s only one catch: the beggars are indulging in restrictive trade practices in stopping ‘non-locals’ from encroaching on their turf. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?