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Begging Alms Guarantee Act proposed to stop UP folks from begging in Maharashtra

15, Nov 2011 By Pagal Patrakar

New Delhi. After Rahul Gandhi’s “beggar” comment drew sharp reactions from various quarters, central government has decided to silence critics by formulating Rahul Gandhi Regional Begging Alms Guarantee Act. The act guarantees a minimum of 32 rupees as daily alms for every beggar who doesn’t leave his home state to beg.

“Now no one from Uttar Pradesh needs to go to Maharashtra to beg,” Congress leader Pramod Tewari announced with a clear sign of vindication and victory over his face.

The act, which will be passed in the parliament when it meets for the winter session, will be first implemented in Phulpur, Uttar Pradesh, where Rahul Gandhi made those comments.

Rahul Gandhi at Phulpur rally in Uttar Pradesh
Why do you need to go to Maharashtra to beg when you can beg back home itself? Rahul Gandhi has thrown this poser to the youth of Uttar Pradesh.

Once the act is passed and becomes a law, every beggar in India will need to go back to the state he or she originally belonged to, and get registered with the local police station. Beggars will have to pledge never to leave their home state again, following which they would be given 32 rupees daily, an amount enough to survive in urban India as calculated by Planning Commission.

“I wish Rahul ji had issued this statement much earlier and this law was a reality last year itself. We wouldn’t have needed to remove the beggars during the Commonwealth Games,” Delhi CM Sheila Dixit welcomed the idea behind BAGA i.e. Rahul Gandhi Regional Begging Alms Guarantee Act.

Congress leaders claim that BAGA is an important step towards legalizing begging, which was made a punishable offence by laws such as Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959. Many NGOs and social activists have been opposing such acts.

“Rahul Gandhi is a visionary leader. He had meetings with such NGOs and activists earlier and was determined to remove laws that outlawed begging,” Pramod Tewari explained why Rahul Gandhi made that beggar remark in the Phulpur rally yesterday.

Expectedly, non-Congress parties have expressed disappointment with provisions of BAGA.

MNS and Shiv Sena have demanded that the law should be imposed on all bhaiyyas (residents of UP and Bihar) and they should be asked to go back home, while BJP has demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

But the proposed law has received some good reviews from police officers and social scientists.

“We are ready to receive the BAGA funds and disburse it to the beggars registered with us,” inspector Kishan Kamishan told Faking News with a hint of anticipation in his tone, “32 rupees is more than enough. In fact, 25 rupees would be enough, but we’ll make sure they get 32 rupees.”

“This is a practical step,” Priyadarshan Thakur, a professor of history at Lucknow University said, “Earlier we had seen Indira Gandhi giving the slogan of ‘gareebi hatao’ but it didn’t change a thing in the lives of the poor. At least now they will get some money.”