July 24, 2006 1:23:28 am
Begging is a very lucrative business in Mumbai. The Maharashtra government has informed the Legislative Council that beggars in the city earn a whopping Rs 180 crore annually and that their numbers had risen from 20,000 in 1963 to six lakh now.
However, those working in the field say this figure is very difficult to verify independently, given the fluid nature of the population of beggars. They also point to the fact that a lot of begging in Mumbai is “commercial” and run by gangs who use children to beg.
“There are many categories of beggars in Mumbai. Most of them are children, some of whom are used by gangs and coerced into begging,” says Vijay Raghavan of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. He adds, “It would be difficult to come up with those kind of figures when the begging population in the city keeps changing. There are daily wagers who take to begging when the going gets tough and jobless immigrants who take to begging. ”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.