According to the 2011 census, India has 4,13,670 beggars, comprising 2,21,673
men and 1,91,997 females, with West Bengal having the greatest number of 81,244
beggars, of whom 33086 are male and 48158 are female. The current research paper
makes an effort to analyze the socioeconomic factors that led to the high number
of beggars, as well as the problems they encounter, the government assistance
they receive, and the recommendations made by the authors for raising their
socioeconomic standards of living in the state of West Bengal.
All Bengalis have to suffer directly or indirectly as a result of their
unsanitary practices. Women and children make up a large portion of the beggar
population and are subjected to various social and moral evils, and beggars are
associated with various other criminal activities, making them a constant source
of nuisance to people visiting the city's pilgrimage and shopping centers.
The primary objective of this research is to analyze the nature and severity of
the increase in beggary in West Bengal, to provide solutions, and to recommend
ways and means for a more suitable solution.
Begging is a widespread issue that is seen in both rural and urban parts of the
nation. Beggars can be seen at all public places in metropolitan areas,
including streets, stations, restaurants, banks, supermarkets, mosques, and
churches. Street beggars engage in immoral conduct, such as "stealing, violence,
and criminal which is highly detrimental to society.
A number of factors,
including "poverty, religion, physical disability, culture, national disaster,
civil war, bad habits (drug, alcohol, and gambling dependencies), family
heritage, uncontrolled rural-urban migration, and psychiatric disabilities and
disorders," contribute to the phenomenon of begging.
Begging is a social issue
that not only has psychological repercussions, such as the emergence of
dependence complexes in the families and networks of kin of the beggars, but
also has an impact on the socioeconomic and geographical makeup of metropolitan
regions. Beggars in India suffer as a result of an unbalanced socioeconomic structure.(Namwata, Baltazar & Mgabo, Maseke & Dimoso, Provident (2012)
India currently faces two of the most pressing issues: first, it must fulfil the
soaring food demand and other consumer goods, and second, it must eradicate the
widespread poverty brought on by the country's constantly growing population. As
a result, there is a persistently large and gaping shortage of food for the
Indian people. A higher need for food, electricity, freshwater, land for human
settlements, better public infrastructure, and amenities for a minimum standard
of living are all results of the population's exponential increase.
In spite of India's rapid economic growth in recent years, poverty and begging
are still among the country's biggest issues. "According to Census 2011, India's
beggar population is 4.13 lakh; out of these, 81,244 are from Bengal, which
covers around 20% of total beggars in India." Women make up 48.04% of India's
overall population. However, according to the 2011 census, women make up 59.27%
of all beggars in the state of West Bengal, despite the fact that the proportion
of beggars has decreased from 61 per lakh people in 2001 to 30 per lakh citizens
The extreme conditions of poverty prevailing in India, coupled with a religious
and traditional sense of duty towards the helpless, have given rise to a large
number of beggars in all the towns, cities, pilgrimage, and tourist centres of
India, but Calcutta seems to have a disproportionately higher share of them.
There are many beggars in all of India's towns, cities, pilgrimage sites, and
tourist destinations because of the tremendous poverty that is prevalent there
and a religious and cultural feeling of obligation towards the defenseless, but
Calcutta appears to have a disproportionately greater amount of them. The
following may be some of the causes of this circumstance in West Bengal:
- The state has an unusual capacity to house all types of people,
especially those without a steady source of income or who do not pay taxes;
- There are three very significant railway terminal in the state that are
connected to nearly all of India's major cities and towns; and
- There are a number of pilgrimage sites in and around the state.
Beggary is a sign of social disorder, and individuals and organisations in India
have a widespread habit of providing alms to beggars in an effort to lessen
their handicap, helplessness, or social inadequacy. The majority of cases of
beggary are caused by the population's growing proportion of displaced workers
who are unable to find a job or a means of survival. In addition to this, the
most common reasons for poverty are blindness, disabilities, illnesses, etc.
Reasons For Begging In West Bengal
Few of the factors that can alleviate the reasons for begging in West Bengal are
the cost of living. For example, the cost-of-living index is the result of
numerous important criteria or characteristics that are used right now in
cost-of-living comparisons. Kolkata's cost of living index is currently 26.17,
whereas Mumbai's is 30.42. The cost of housing, food, the market,
transportation, utilities, clothes, and salary are only a few of the variables
that determine your economic and financial status; accordingly, negative
consequences from these variables might motivate you to beg.
According to Mercer's 2022 Cost of Living assessment, "Mumbai is the most costly
city in India in terms of both living expenditures and lodging prices." Kolkata
was the least costly Indian city on the list, coming in at number 203, followed
by "New Delhi (155), Chennai (177), Bengaluru (178), Hyderabad (192), and Pune
(201). The study focused on factors that affect everyday expenditures; among the
evaluated Indian cities, Kolkata has the cheapest prices for daily essentials
like milk, bread, veggies, etc., while Mumbai and New Delhi have the highest
While Bengal is more affordable than any other state and has 20% of India's
beggars, Maharashtra only has 24307 beggars despite its high cost of living and
fierce competition. While it is true that Maharashtra has better economic
opportunities, its high cost of living makes it nearly impossible for anyone to
live on alms, whereas it appears that West Bengal's low cost of living is
indirectly contributing to the state's high beggar population, where only a
little amount of money is required to survive on a day-to-day basis and more
than 400 initiatives are operated by West Bengal to offer jobs, caregiving, and
The majority of these services are provided via the umbrella Jai Bangla scheme. These interventions will be supported at the state level by the
West Bengal Building State Capability for Inclusive Social Protection Operation,
with a focus on vulnerable populations like women, elderly people, households
belonging to scheduled castes and tribes, as well as homes in the state's
disaster-prone coastal regions.
Although, according to a recent survey, monetary transfers in West Bengal do not
reach as many of the region's poor and vulnerable households as food and in-kind
donations do, Due to lengthy application procedures and a lack of automated
methods for application and eligibility verification, access to social pensions
is particularly limited for the elderly, widowed, and handicapped. Significant
factors that contribute to forced begging include poverty, migration, a lack of
quality education, certain cultural, religious, and moral traditions, a lack of
exposure to the outside world, and many others. The hypothesis behind the surge
in the number of beggars, vagrants, etc. can be categorised into further reasons
According to the National Poverty Line, 21.9% of people in a nation like India
were living in poverty in 2011. Many more are living just above the poverty line
but are still in poverty. They struggle to provide for their everyday needs.
Even the water they consume is an issue for them. Every family has at least
three children, which puts them in a vulnerable position when it comes to
satisfying their fundamental needs. In contrast to any other employment, begging
appears to them to be a lucrative alternative given their precarious situation.
They frequently have a tendency to push their kids into the "begging industry."
They may make easy money since people are sympathetic towards them, which makes
encouraging kids to beg more beneficial for them. In this approach, parents
coerce their kids into begging.
In Bengal, 1.26 percent of rural households rely mostly on begging for their
income. According to the newly released Socioeconomic and Caste Census 2011
report, Rural West Bengal has the highest percentage of families that rely on
begging as their primary source of income, which is significantly more than the
national average of 0.37 percent.
West Bengal has an illustrious history in terms of business, culture, and other
sectors. However, West Bengal's general economic and social circumstances have
deteriorated since the 1960s; the 34-year Communist Party rule has frequently
been cited as one of the causes of the state's economic stagnation, and the
people of the state for the first time voted for change in 2011.
However, data for West Bengal after 10 years of Trinamool Congress leadership do
not indicate a significant improvement in economic development. In 2020�21, the
state's per capita yearly income was Rs. 122,000, which was less than the
national average of Rs. The Tendulkar committee's estimations and statistics
from the Planning Commission show that 20% of people live below the poverty
line. With a rate of 15%, the state's urban poverty rate is one percentage point
higher than the national average. Despite being lower than the national average,
the rural poverty rate is 8 percentage points greater than the urban rate.
If we compare West Bengal's yearly per capita income growth rate between
1993�1994 and 1999�2000 to the national average of 4.6%, West Bengal's growth
rate was 5.5%. The growth rate in West Bengal decreased to 4.9% over the
following ten years, while the average for all of India increased to 5.5. West
Bengal's growth rate decreased to 4.2% between 2011�12 and 2019�20, and while
the average growth rate for all of India decreased to 5.2%, the difference has
It is important to note that during the 1990s, the state's growth rate was
greater than the national average. Both the prior decade and the last decade of
the Left Front government had a decline below the all-India average (2011�12 to
2019�20). Therefore, it is evident that West Bengal's growth has slightly slowed
during the past ten years when compared to the ten years prior. The all-India
growth rate, on the other hand, represents the broader economic decline that had
already begun in 2016 before the effects of the COVID-19 problem surfaced.
A geographical assessment of the state reveals areas with large concentrations
of poor people. In the Purulia area, more than a third of the people are
considered to be extremely poor. In the rural or suburban section of the
district, it appears that a sizable portion of the impoverished people have
settled close to the regions that are economically active, such as adjacent to
agricultural farmland or the mining belt. Similar patterns can be seen in the
mining-belt areas of the Uttar Dinajpur, Malda, Birbhum, and Bankura districts,
which have substantial proportions of the poor.
It is obvious that the rate of development in these growing zones has not been
sufficient to handle the rising population influx from within and beyond the
state. The state's growing unemployment rate is a result of the economy's
sluggish expansion, which has contributed to the state's ongoing poverty.
The districts of Howrah, Hooghly, and Kolkata have comparatively low overall
poverty rates. Yet a close-up look at these districts reveals that large
populations of the destitute are concentrated around water sources. It is
typical to see relatively dense populations close to water sources. Different
kinds of economic possibilities are provided by rivers and other bodies of
water. One of the key sources of revenue for the state is fishing. Additionally,
one of the busiest bridges in the nation and the Hooghly River's bridge between
Howrah and Kolkata, the Howrah bridge, provides several options for employment.
The significant concentration of poverty around water features, however, may
indicate that job options are already plentiful in these locations and that
wages are poor.
Geographic isolation is a prominent factor in spatial poverty, The geographical
concentration of poverty is influenced by the difficult access to markets that
is typical of forest regions. How far away from centres of economic output
impoverished households are determines how growth affects poverty. In the
districts of Jalpaiguri, Malda, Bardhaman, and Purba Medinipur, more than 50% of
the population lives in extreme poverty. The fact that the Adivasi population
predominates in these regions is another factor contributing to the high poverty
rate in rural areas. The Adivasis have always faced difficulties finding work
due to long-term economic and social isolation.
Despite the state's lack of economic dynamism, West Bengal's rural districts
have had faster buying power growth than the rest of the country. The state
government's several transfer programs, including the Kanyashree, Krishak Bandhu,
and Yuvashree, may be somewhat responsible for this. This needs to be weighed
against the allegations of mismanagement, political repression, and corruption
that appear to be working against the TMC as an incumbent party.
It also exhibits very little urban bias in terms of poverty incidence since the
gap between urban and rural poverty is negligible in comparison to many other
states. It is troubling to see that the rate of poverty alleviation in the
post-liberalization era has slowed down in contrast to the pre-liberalization
era. If we look at how common poverty is in West Bengal's districts, we discover
that there are many levels of poverty there: While the southeastern districts
demonstrate low to moderate rural and urban poverty, the southwestern districts
exhibit moderate to high poverty, while the poverty levels in the northern
districts exhibit notable swings from low to moderate to high levels.
Families move across the city in great danger, and occasionally they may not be
able to locate other employment that will allow them to survive. These families
are forced to beg and are trafficked. Due to their migrant status, they are
unable to navigate the city and are therefore easily kidnapped and forced to
rely on begging for money. This encourages greater people trafficking, and West
Bengal has a history of accepting both legal and illegal immigrants from other
countries and Indian states, including Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, etc.
During the years 2002�2003, the Population Studies Unit performed a qualitative
study on the impacts of unreported migration from Bangladesh to West Bengal. The
analysis shows that illegal migration has been ongoing, with its peak occurring
during and immediately following the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Migration
increased significantly on August 15, 1975, the day after Mujibur Rehman was
killed. The primary causes of this widespread migration between 1971 and 1980
were political unrest in Bangladesh, a lack of safety and security for Hindu
families due to the war, racial and communal tensions affecting primarily Hindus
under Ziaur Rahman's rule (1975�81), and economic and employment opportunities
in West Bengal.
Morbidity and child mortality have increased in West Bengal as a result of the
settlement of migrants, typically in "unhygienic conditions, poor nutrition,
inadequate medical and health care facilities, a lack of safe drinking water and
sanitation, poverty, illiteracy, social unawareness, the new environment, and
unsettling conditions." The key driving forces behind the migratory phenomenon
are the economic downturn, lack of industrialization, social unrest, population
expansion, political unpredictability, dominance of religious extremists in
Bangladesh, cultural similarities, and the homoethnic milieu in West Bengal.
Pranati Datta, Swati Sadhu, B.N. Bhattacharya, and P.K. Majumdar (2008)
Different political parties provided protection to illegal immigrants at
different times, which prevented local governments from enforcing rigorous law
and order. Illegal aliens are added to the voter list and utilised as a voting
bloc. Therefore, Indian politicians have frequently promoted Bangladeshi
immigration. They can now hardly be distinguished from Indian citizens. Despite
the fact that many migrants arrived with the hope of finding long-term
employment, they frequently had to seize the possibilities that presented
themselves and seek refuge in the shadow economy in order to survive.
The researcher has evaluated the dynamics of begging as a means of subsistence
while looking at migration. Our analysis of begging was further strengthened by
a comparative regional approach, which recognised the diverse ways that begging
is experienced by men and women across two research locations. The Bombay
Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, according to Criminal Revision Petition No. 784
of 2006, classifies all the causes of begging as idleness, drunkenness, drug
addiction, gang exploitation, malnutrition, or homelessness.
My research has shown other causes for begging, including ageing, (bad) health,
food shortages, the proportion of earner to dependents, and marital status. The
reports of both men and women imply that necessity frequently influences
migrants' decisions to beg. Men cited the scarcity of food as a significant
hurdle, while women interviewed expressed anxiety over their poverty and widowed
Men's stories, in particular, revealed a connection between begging and aging.
As people aged and their physical stamina declined, migration patterns in West
Bengal often varied. Those who were actively moving in search of hard labour had
no choice but to begin begging. The elderly population in underdeveloped rural
towns had little to no access to national social security programmes like
pensions, social benefits, or health care services, which accelerated the need
for such decisions. This situation contrasts with the conversation about ageing
that is currently taking place, especially in developed nations, where issues
with social security access, a dwindling workforce, and a rising awareness of
the need for more immigration of younger people are being raised.
The women respondents went into greater detail when describing the begging
conditions in Bengal that forced landless people and widows without sons to
relocate for this profession. Their stories demonstrated the evolving attitudes
of women towards begging. They emphasised the importance of such migration as a
means of securing a living. The findings contribute to our understanding of
widows' independent position, stable means of subsistence, and increased
activity areas. These ladies offered a thorough description of how family
conflicts, domestic abuse, or the dissolution of family life led to their
experiences as visible homeless people, but they were able to meet their basic
needs via begging.
Women said that as their husbands moved from agricultural labour to begging,
which did not pay well, their capacity to react to demands for cash decreased.
Yet, in West Bengal in particular, these older women were better positioned in
their houses than young spouses due to their position in the life course and the
makeup of their households, despite their economic worries. They had more
options and accessibility to leave their houses, see friends and physicians
outside the area, and delegate responsibilities to other family members. Their
bodily unease decreased as well. They talked about getting used to their
husband's relocation and frequent absences from the house.
Overall, in terms of policy, some contend that immigrants should be accepted for
humanitarian reasons, but granting resident permits to illegal immigrants is
impractical because India is already overpopulated with its current population,
according to those who believe they should be expelled as soon as possible.
Supporting the migrant community is not a solution, but it may be required at
some point. Long-term remedies may include bilateral agreements and initiatives
to raise Bangladesh's economic standing.
II.3. Lack of Quality Education
Lack of a decent education increases the likelihood that someone may go for a
job that appears to be a lucrative way to get money. They choose to scavenge for
money, but occasionally human traffickers seize them, sell them, and force them
to work for their tiny business, turning these families or individuals into
their slaves and eventually forcing them into beggary.
Compared to the national average of 25.8%, West Bengal's gross enrollment ratio
for higher education (18�23 years old) in 2017�18 was just 18.7%, while the
ratio for women in the state was even lower at 17.6%. West Bengal has just 12,
compared to the national average of 28, or 1,341 colleges per lakh of people
ages 18 to 23. West Bengal has 1,170 students per college on average, compared
to 698 on the national average. Therefore, West Bengal's deficiency in higher
education institutions, both in terms of quantity and caliber, is too obvious to
ignore. (Mitra, Debjani, and Tushar K. Ghara 2019)
Between 2016�17 and 2018�19, the pupil-teacher ratio in primary schools
decreased from 29 to 22 and from 49 to 42 in upper primary schools. From 2016�17
to 2018�19, the revised planned spending in the same field increased by 18%.
Similarly, between 2010�11 and 2017�18, the state's government investment in
education increased considerably. School education, panchayats and rural
development, urban development and municipal affairs, and health and family
welfare received the most funding in the 2018-19 budget. That year, the state
spent 18.2% of its budgeted funds on education. This is more than the average
expenditure on education in the other 18 states. (West Bengal Budget 2018-19)
The number of universities increased from 26 in 2011�12 to 46 in 2018 "including
19 state public universities, central universities, deemed universities, and
universities of other categories." The goal of this point is not to exaggerate
the effect of the new government's emphasis on education after 2011, but rather
to draw attention to the state of education in West Bengal during those years of
heavy debt during the final phase of Left Front rule. ( ALL INDIA SURVEY ON
For instance, while West Bengal placed quite high (with Rs 12,922.31 crore),
followed by Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh in the state-by-state distribution of
funds for education by the education departments under the revenue account, the
percentage between budgeted education spending and gross state domestic product
(GSDP) of states and union territories during 2010�11 was 2.73, which was lower
than that of several other states. The following years saw a rise in this
proportion to 3.32. This improvement was obviously still insufficient, though.
Several northeastern states, as well as other states like Chhattisgarh, had
According to the University Grants Commission, there are "19 autonomous
institutions in the state as of the current year (2021), compared to 193 in
Tamil Nadu, 104 in Andhra Pradesh, 71 in Karnataka, and 60 in Telangana." The
context for this must be understood in light of the backdrop best provided in a
2004 study by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (UGC), which
stated, "So far, there is no autonomous college in West Bengal." Some of the top
institutions have thought about having autonomy, but it has not yet been put
into practice. In West Bengal, higher education is still mostly a government
There is still more work to be done in education, despite the fact that West
Bengal has made some progress. We still do not know just how much Kanyasree has
done to advance and broaden educational opportunities for girls. Research is
still not good enough. Primary data points to its greater performance in rural
regions; its success in cities is yet unknown.
West Bengal is one of the top five states for enrollment in higher education.
However, there are gaps in a number of industries. There are open teaching
positions. While there may be a vacancy or a job available in some instances,
there may not be a teacher for that position. Infrastructure, institutional
growth, and equipment all require careful operational planning.
II.4. Cultural- Religious- moral traditions followed by some.
In this scenario, the children who were made to beg and the cultures and
traditions of some communities appear to promote or at least condone child
begging. Cultural and religious traditions may become deeply ingrained in
civilizations and have a significant impact on community members. Even if it is
true that widespread acceptance of begging in general would certainly render
girls and boys more susceptible to this type of abuse, a "tradition" of begging
differs from forcing children to beg. People's decisions to donate to child
beggars are also influenced by their traditions and religious beliefs; without
these payments, forced child begging would no longer be possible. Christian,
Hindu, and Muslim religions all share this feeling of obligation. This is how
antiquated customs push kids to beg. This also counts as begging.
Making begging illegal in India is more of a punitive measure than a step
towards rehabilitation because some children were trafficked even before they
were born and have been in slavery ever since. They are unaware of the rules and
that they have been treated unfairly; they just know how to beg. Men's, women's,
and children's rights are violated because they are unaware of the legal
repercussions or available legal remedies. Only sound laws will be able to
defend their rights. In India, laws criminalise begging rather than protecting
the interests of beggars. We primarily have one piece of law that deals with
Status And Evolution Of Women And Old In Bengali Society
Since it is established that the majority of people who are engaged in begging
are women and the elderly, it is important for us to evaluate how women and the
elderly in an egalitarian society (primarily matriarchal) are forced to beg to
survive. To start with, let's talk about women. (Moussumee Dutta, 1999)
Women of West Bengali or Bengali culture have always been compelled to embrace
and naturalise male dominance, which has resulted in their exclusion from
society. Women have historically not been treated equally to males but in bengal
they were treated much better than any of India at every given time period. Men
rule over women in patriarchal societies, but Bengali society, being much more
of an egalitarian society, does not have to face many of these problems,
although there is systematic discrimination against women. For their happiness,
they are made to work in the home and submit to males. In addition to the
numerous ways in which they have been neglected, mistreated, and ridiculed,
women are also ignored economically.
A typical Bengali woman works an hour longer each day than the average Indian
man since they are not entitled to equal compensation for equal effort or
inheritance rights. However, a lot of her labour goes unappreciated because it
is generally unpaid. The birth of a girl is viewed as a misfortune and a burden
in some areas of Bengal. So, out of ignorance, some individuals engage in female
infanticide, or the killing of a girl child as soon as she is born. Some parents
even discover means of having an abortion performed on the girl child. All of
these are well recognized, yet problems relating to the health of women do not
receive enough attention.
The status and position of women in Bengal have seen significant transformation
in the decades after independence. However, the shift from complete
subordination of women to equality is not a straightforward example of women's
advancement in the contemporary period. After independence, several laws related
to women were passed in an effort to improve their standing. These largely
concerned marriage, divorce, property inheritance, and employment. There is
still much work to be done in this area despite the fact that social reformers'
laws and several other emancipatory activities have undoubtedly improved the
position of women in Bengal.
The discussion of the position of women in the State of West Bengal starts with
a discussion of the state's historical and cultural background, which blames
Bengali Hindu culture and British colonialism for women's low status and
cultural isolation in contrast to their splendour in the Vedic period. The
practise of burning widows was abolished in the previous century, women's
education increased, and Bengali women distinguished themselves in politics,
nonprofit organizations, and literature. The sex ratio in 2011 was 944 in urban
areas and 953 in rural areas, reflecting West Bengal's continued low status of
Social laws, however, have not been very effective in Bengal for a variety of
reasons. One significant factor is that most women are not completely aware of
the state-adopted measures for their advancement, and even when they are, they
do not employ them because of the enduring old societal beliefs. They are unable
to make any revolutionary decisions because of these traditions and principles.
The oppressed status of women cannot be significantly improved by legal or
legislative consequences alone unless there is a significant shift in people's
attitudes and awareness of both men and women. Their illiteracy is one of the
major obstacles in this respect. Even educated women do not always utilise their
right to equality when it is necessary.
As a result, women now have a higher standing in the eyes of the law, but they
are still not on par with men in any aspect of life. They still experience
exploitation, harassment, humiliation, and prejudice both within and outside of
the family. Though theoretically women may now have more independence, in
reality they still face numerous challenges, dehumanizing treatment, and
unfairness everywhere. She still does not receive the same treatment as her male
counterpart in the house. A baby girl is never received with the same �clat and
joy as a baby boy, with the exception of a small number of well-educated
households in metropolitan areas.
The birth of a girl might occasionally be seen as a negative omen. They do not
receive the respect they deserve in the home or are treated equally to males.
Males still prioritise their responsibilities as a husband and father over their
wives and kids. The male head of the family still holds control and authority
over the home. Most middle- and lower-class households still follow the dominant
father paradigm. With a few exceptions, ladies in so-called contemporary
households have not evolved into equal partners with their husbands, despite the
fact that they may be well-educated or even more so than their husbands.
Their situation is not any better in the professional world either. Women from
upper castes were not formerly permitted to work outside the house in any paid
employment. They are not treated equally in many workplace-related problems,
either. In rural Bengal, women are treated as drudges despite the fact that they
are theoretically associated with goddesses. The issues of inferiority,
injustice, reliance, and exploitation that women face in the villages have not
altered. Despite the enormous amount of effort that is demanded of them in the
house, in the agricultural field, or in some employment, ill-treatment is linked
with no equitable chance for social involvement. Women are known for their
ability to multitask well, which is one of their key traits. She is often the
one who manages both the house and the workplace.
The women of Bengal have seen a dramatic transformation in the contemporary era,
and urban women in particular have gone from being purely domestic to becoming
fearless multitaskers. She had confidently faced the world. Today's women manage
household responsibilities and housework, pursue careers outside the home, care
for their children, and strike a balance between their personal and professional
lives. The majority of metropolitan families today look like this. Modern women
are autonomous, courageous in their decisions, speak up for their rights, and
follow the successful route.
Women are being educated about the benefits of being socially aware, having a
positive reputation and image in the family, planning, and supporting their
children's higher education, and taking responsibility for the health of the
young and old. The majority of women nowadays have the option to finish their
education and obtain a degree, subsequently which made Marriage and having
children are discouraged among young people. In order to provide women from
disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to pursue an education, the government
offers a variety of incentives for women's education.
The status of women in
Bengal has significantly improved recently, and many hold highly regarded
positions in both the public and commercial sectors. Women are involved in all
facets of India's modern economy. This has shown that, if given the chance,
women can be even better than men. The national and state governments of India
should provide women with the same opportunities as men.
The majority of the aforementioned beggars are elderly, so West Bengal, a state
in eastern India, is not an exception to this phenomenon of population ageing in
the nation, where 8.5% of the total population are elderly. In addition, I would
like to discuss the status of the elderly in Bengali society. There are 74, 90,
and 514 people over the age of 60, with 32% living in urban regions and 68%
(51.4% males and 48.6% females) living in rural areas.
For the younger generation and the economy at large, the elderly represent a
rich vein of information and experience. The elderly population in West Bengal
is anticipated to grow as life expectancy increases. Statistics show that by
2050, the elderly will make up around a quarter of the whole population. Kolkata
is quickly turning into a city of retirees. According to a recent survey,
Kolkata has the most elderly residents of any Indian metropolis, with the
majority of them living alone.
The educated middle-class Bengalis have always looked beyond their own state's
borders and travelled to other cities and nations, but in the past ten years,
there has been a large outflow of young people. In fact, among major cities,
Kolkata has the lowest proportion of people aged 20 to 30. The social structure
is being severely weakened by the large migration of young people, with the
elderly being disproportionately impacted. The elder members sense the great gap
closing in on them since they are missing the intimate touch of their own brood.
Numerous physical and mental anxieties and traumas�both genuine and
imagined�increase their terror.
The majority of old people in Bengal experience psychological suffering, which
is strongly correlated with low levels of education, living alone without a
spouse or children, functional dependency, and decisions made by others about
their medical care. Alarmingly, a substantial percentage of senior residents in
this rural region reported experiencing psychological anguish. In order for
older people to continue to contribute to the improvement of society, all
actions must be conducted with a specific focus on their mental health.
In comparison to their contemporaries in practically all other states, West
Bengal's senior citizens are seen to have some of the worst health conditions,
with Kerala being the exception. This is true both in terms of acute diseases
and chronic health disorders as well as functional limits. In rural locations,
functional limits that involve both ADL and IADL tasks have been seen to be on
the rise. This necessitates that the health system pay close attention in order
to prepare for this largely unmet requirement and the rising demand for
Additionally, the state has promoted private sector involvement in the
healthcare industry. 41 specialty and super specialty hospitals with an emphasis
on elderly care are opening in West Bengal, according to government
communications. There are physiotherapists and nurses on call; home delivery of
medications and necessities; applications that connect them to emergency
services; resort-like amenities for those that want more luxury; and more.
Old Age Pension Scheme, which offers old West Bengalis who are lawful residents
of the state financial help of Rs. 750 per month, has also been launched by the
state government. After retirement, managing medical bills becomes more
challenging as income decreases. People become increasingly prone to numerous
illnesses as they age. The requirement for a consistent source of revenue to pay
for treatment and preventative costs grows significantly.
The state will face unprecedented pressures from disease and mortality in the
next decades as the senior population grows. As previously stated, key hurdles
to senior Indians' access to health care include social barriers impacted by
gender and other axes of social inequality (religion, caste, socioeconomic
status, stigma). Physical barriers include limited mobility, a loss in social
involvement, and limited access to the health care system. Limits on health
affordability include income, employment, and asset ceilings, as well as limits
on the amount of financial protection available for medical bills under India's
and Bengal's health systems.
As the elderly in the nation age, it is crucial to comprehend the societal
elements that affect them. The state of West Bengal should also get ready to
handle the rising issue of caring for its senior population in light of
increased life expectancy, fast urbanization, and lifestyle changes.
In order to
enhance the quality of life for the elderly, all social service organisations
across the nation must address the social issues surrounding their care. To
ensure that the elderly live with dignity, it is necessary to start more
effective social assistance programs. To address the care requirements and
difficulties faced by Bengal's ageing population, an integrated and responsive
system must also be developed.
In conclusion, the problem of beggary in Bengal is a complex and deeply rooted
issue that demands a comprehensive and well-coordinated solution. The underlying
causes of beggary, including poverty, devaluation of women and the elderly in
Bengali society, cultural-religious-moral traditions, lack of quality education,
and migration, all contribute to the perpetuation of this serious issue.
It is essential that a collaborative effort is made between the government,
community leaders, religious organizations, and other stakeholders to tackle the
problem of beggary in Bengal. Improving access to education, promoting gender
equality, and supporting the elderly can help to reduce the incidence of beggary
by providing alternative means of livelihood for those who are vulnerable to it.
Furthermore, addressing poverty through job creation and economic development
initiatives is critical to reducing beggary in the long term.
Additionally, it is important to challenge cultural-religious-moral traditions
that contribute to the acceptance of beggary in Bengali society. Education and
awareness campaigns can play a key role in promoting positive attitudes towards
work and self-sufficiency, thereby discouraging the notion that begging is an
acceptable form of survival.
Begging may be a crucial survival tactic for the underprivileged in West Bengal
.The difficulties and possibilities experienced by the migrants (who beg) and
the absence of institutional systems to help individuals in rural communities
are explained by the categorization of this sort of migration as a livelihood
strategy. It shows how hard it may be for people to make a livelihood when there
is little social, financial, or institutional assistance. Both men and women
experience the pressures of begging as a means of support, which is a burden
made worse by aging, deteriorating physical endurance, and ongoing economic
However, despite the hardship and the absence of guaranteed monetary transfers
from each migration, the majority of persons who engage in the activity do not
think that begging is less financially rewarding. They recognize the benefits
and chances offered by this means of subsistence. Remittances from begging do
constitute a necessary requirement for subsistence, regardless of the beliefs
associated with the activity or the individuals who engage in it. They are a
crucial resource for overcoming hunger and food shortages.
The individuals engaged, and the nature of the activities are considerably more
significant than being a beggar. Encouragement of begging would be ineffective
since it is not the root of the issue facing elderly persons in poverty. Since
many elderly men and women rely on migration to meet basic necessities for food
and healthcare, reducing migration for begging may actually make situations
worse. Therefore, research on temporary internal migration should take beggar
movement into account to start addressing this demand among impoverished
landless households in rural Bengal's communities.
In conclusion, the solution to beggary in Bengal requires a multi-pronged
approach that addresses the immediate needs of those who beg, as well as the
underlying structural issues that contribute to the perpetuation of this
problem. With sustained effort, collaboration, and a commitment to finding a
comprehensive solution, it is possible to reduce the incidence of beggary in
Bengal and improve the lives of those who are affected by it.
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