The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India, has identified 75 Municipal Corporations to implement comprehensive rehabilitation of persons engaged in the act of begging under “SMILE: Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise” named as “SMILE-75 Initiative”.
The Government of India has recognised the persisting problem of destitution and beggary and formulated a comprehensive scheme of SMILE which includes a sub-scheme of comprehensive rehabilitation for persons engaged in begging that covers identification, rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, and education, skill development for a decent job and self-employment/entrepreneurship.
Under the SMILE-75 initiative:
- 75 Municipal Corporations in collaboration with NGOs and other stakeholders will cover several comprehensive welfare measures for persons who are engaged in the act of begging with a focus extensively on rehabilitation, provision of medical facilities, counselling, awareness, education, skill development, economic linkages and convergence with other Government welfare programmes etc.
- The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has allocated a total budget of Rs. 100 crore for the SMILE project for the coming years till 2025-26.
- Through this project, the Ministry envisions developing a support mechanism for holistic rehabilitation of those engaged in the act of begging and building an India where no person is forced to beg in order to survive and fulfil their basic needs.
The objective of SMILE-75:
- The objective of SMILE- 75 is to make our cities/towns and municipal areas begging-free and make a strategy for comprehensive rehabilitation of the persons engaged in the act of begging through the coordinated action of various stakeholders.
- The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment understands the important role of Local Urban Bodies, Civil Society Organisations/Non-Government Organisations to address this persisting social issue with concerted efforts.