Jharkhand has fewer beggars than neighbouring states
Despite being regarded as a poor state, Jharkhand has fewer beggars and vagrants than its neighbouring and prominent states in Eastern India, as per a report on beggars’ population tabled by Union minister for social justice Thawar Chand Gehlot in Lok Sabha.
The tribal state with total population of more than 3.29 crore has merely 10,819 beggars and vagrants. Of the number, 5,522 are men and 5,297 women. It ranked 12th in the country.
Gehlot in a written reply to Lok Sabha on Wednesday quoted a 2011 census and mentioned that there are at least 4,13,670 beggars in the country, out of which 2,21,673 are men and 1,91,997 women. Lakshwadeep has country’s lowest beggars—merely two.
Jharkhand’s neighbouring state West Bengal has topped the beggar’s list having highest 81,244 beggars. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh having beggars’ population of 65,835.
The other two neighouring states—Bihar and Odisha—are also much ahead of Jharkhand in terms of beggar’s population. There are 29,723 beggars in Bihar while Odisha has 17,965 beggars and vagrants. With 10,198 beggars, Chattisgarh is close to Jharkhand.
However, food activists in Jharkhand do not link it with state’s growing economy. “Begging is not always linked to livelihood. It is a kind of culture found in many societies. Begging has not been seen in tribal culture. Therefore, beggars are hardly seen in rural Jharkhand,” said Balram, a noted food activist of Jharkhand. He added beggars were mainly restricted to urban Jharkhand, as there was mixed population in cities.
Noted economist and director-in-chief of Centre for Fiscal Studies (CFFS) Harishwar Dayal said, “Beggars’ population is fewer in Jharkhand due to various reasons such as alternative livelihood source, migration and food security.” He said concentration of beggars are found higher in places of religious and tourism importance.
“In Jharkhand, door-to-door begging is hardly seen. Beggars are seen stationed in few religious places but their numbers are not so high,” he said.