If you are travelling to India then one of the most striking features that you will notice is her poverty. You might have heard of lots of nice things about how India is making progress and about its growing economy. That is all well and good and rightly so; millions of people have been uplifted out of poverty. You can read more about poverty in India here. Gone are the days when people used to starve to death – thankfully none of that anymore.
India is already Asia’s third largest economy by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It’s the second fastest growing country in the world after China. It’s one of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, which optimists think, are rated to become world’s leading economies in the coming decades. Consumer surveys repeatedly talk of upbeat Indians, who are hopeful of the future. The country is young, and that adds more potential to its growth curve. Its dynamic software industry and huge internal market add to its attractiveness as a place to do business. Combined, all this presents a very rosy picture of India. However, this is only a part of the story.
A woman carrying a baby, seemingly sick and sound asleep, running around begging for food or money in the scorching sun is a common sight in India. Heart rendering isn’t it? The first reaction would always be to hand out any food or money available to give some sort of comfort to the child. But hold on a second and read through before acting on the very basic human instinct.
Beggars in India is a reality
There is more to begging and beggars in India than meets the eye. Poverty is a sad reality about the country. It is a conundrum that is deep rooted and in spite of the efforts made by the Government and the Non Government Organisations (NGOs), it will take considerable time to phase out. The beggars are just one of the by-products of this mess.
Now there may be some who are genuine and forced to beg out of compulsion. But more often than not there are well organized gangs who run begging rackets. Yes unbelievable but true there are big syndicates whose sole source of income is begging. For them begging is the easy way to earn money and they do it by playing on the sympathy of the unsuspecting tourist or passerby.