Bengaluru: In just 5 years, citizens paid over Rs 400 crore as beggary cess | Bengaluru News – Times of India


BENGALURU: Citizens under various urban local bodies, including Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), have paid Rs 404.5 crore as beggary cess between April 2017 and March 2022. But the government’s efforts to eradicate the problem, rehabilitate persons indulging in it or skill them seem inadequate.
While no big city in the state is free of beggars – some disabled and old and some healthy individuals without other means – the government continues to collect the cess from citizens, most of whom are unaware that they pay such a fee.
According to the government, municipal bodies that collect the cess are allowed to keep 10% of the money for their expenditure, while the remaining amount has to be transferred to the Central Relief Committee (CRC) under the department of social welfare, which operates Nirashrithara Parihara Kendras that house the homeless as well as beggars.

“These kendras/centres are being maintained out of the 3% beggary cess levied on property tax by all local body authorities and deposited in the CRC fund… The Karnataka Prohibition of Beggary Act, 1975 has been enacted to prohibit beggary and any person involved in begging will be arrested and after following the procedure, will be detained in Nirashrithara Parihara Kendras,” CRC says.
Of the Rs 404 crore collected in the said period, property owners in BBMP limits paid Rs 282.5 crore, which is nearly 70% of all the cess. A year-wise analysis shows that 2020-21 saw the most money collected (Rs 89.6 crore), followed by 2021-22 (more than Rs 88 crore).
However, multiple experts TOI spoke with pointed out that the government’s “victim-baming” approach where beggars should not be seen on the streets is flawed. They added civil society’s response too has been inadequate.
MR Rajendra, national secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, which is also trying to address the issue legally, said the way the government sees the problem is behind the failure to address it properly. Rajendra added though there is money, lack of political will and understanding of the issue on part of the government is hampering progress.
SS Rajani, who works with the city’s homeless and economically weaker sections, said: “Beggars include the aged, specially abled and healthy adults. But all of them belong to economically weaker sections. They need to be rehabilitated and since most have no education, they need to be skilled and trained to become employable.”

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