NEW DELHI: The Centre has made financial provisions of food for one lakh beggars, homeless and destitutes on the streets of 10 cities including Delhi and Mumbai. The Union ministry of social justice has written to the municipal corporations of these cities informing them of its decision which aims to ensure no one is left hungry.
The ministry has also written to organisations and prominent community members of the transgender community offering support by way of funds for meals.
Writing to the municipal corporations of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Indore, Patna, Nagpur and Lucknow, ministry of social justice and empowerment secretary, R Subrahmanyam, asked, the local bodies to immediately start feeding centres for one lakh beggars that will be supported till April 15. “Assistance will be rolled out as soon as we hear from the Municipal authorties. Since the situation is evolving we want to ensure that we are able to assist the authorities on ground to reach out to be most vulnerable like the beggars,” Subrahmanyam added.
These cities have been chosen as they are part of the ministry’s comprehensive plan to be be executed to end the practice of beggary by identifying, rescuing, protecting, training and rehabilitating the persons engaged in the practice. The ministry is also hoping that these food centres will also help in identifying persons who can later be brought under the project to wean them off beggary.
The social justice ministry has also decided to support transgender persons without ration cards facing starvation by providing financial support for food and medical facilities till April 15. Details have been sought from the community by the ministry to enable provision of meals.
TOI had reported on Thursday how the city’s night shelters have turned into the biggest centres of community food with a large number of homeless and labourers who have lost their livelihoods converging to have food. Officials said at least 16,000 people were offered both lunch and dinner at the city’s 220 night- shelters on Wednesday and the number was only increasing. According to officials, the number of those coming to the shelters during the day has increased to at least three times since the government has started the free food facility.
Reports of crowds descending outside night shelters where the meals are to be provided started pouring in from Tuesday evening. By Wednesday evening it was evident that queues and the throng reflected how thousands of people are struggling with hunger. The danger of people coming together in large numbers clearly defeated the idea of social distancing in the fight against the spread of Corona virus.
On Thursday, both Delhi and central government came forward to announce a slew of measures to reach out to the poor. The days ahead will show how effectively the governments are able to reach out to the unorganised sector and the most vulnerable target groups.