The UT administration, which has failed to check begging menace for last so many years, has now decided to use technical and digital aid. This follows after controversy surrounded the ‘Muskaan’ operation.
The administration has planned to prepare a database of the child beggars through face recognition software, besides getting their DNA profiling. The DNA profiling is a forensic technique used to identify individuals by characteristics of their DNA.
The UT administration is coming up with a training session for officials and employees, who will be involved in the operation of checking beggary menace.
Sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) South Kriti Garg said, “To check child beggary, we need to have inter-department co-ordination as we need to rehabilitate and create awareness among children against the menace.” For the purpose, a core team has been formed under the chairmanship of UT deputy commissioner Ajit Balaji Joshi. The team will include three sub-divisional magistrates, director health services and director school education. Along with the core committee, a support committee will also be constituted, which wll comprise members of NGOs, resident welfare associations and other interested groups who are willing to work for the cause. In an attempt to sensitise children and city residents against child beggary menace, the administration has decided to carry out an awareness drive. The children will be sensitised about the importance of education and explained as to how begging is harmful for their future. A detailed standing operation procedure is being worked out for all departments — social welfare, education, health, police and others, so that the roles are identified to check the menace.
Elaborating about the technical and digital programme, the sources in the administration said, “Residents will be encouraged to click picture of the child beggar and post it on the Facebook or WhatsApp, along with the location, so that a proper database can be prepared along with photos. Through pictures, the administration will also prepare a list of areas where they are found, and with help of the face recognition software, the surveys will be carried out to locate the child beggars. DNA profiling will also be done, so that relatives and parents can be traced, in case documentary proof of the same is missing. The beggars keep moving between Chandigarh, SAS Nagar and Panchkula.
The Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CCPCR) had conducted a survey last year to get to the depth of the begging menace. Chairperson, CCPCR, Devi Sirohi said, “A training session is being held, and in collocation with the UT administration, a detailed survey will be conducted.”
The CCPCR survey last year had highlighted there are over 1,200 child beggars across the city, of which 40% go to schools. After attending school, they take to the markets and prominent light points to seek alms; during weekends, they work full time. Mostly children of migrant people, they originally are from states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar.