We commend the policy move to more strictly enforce the country’s laws against begging.
In Dhaka, the practice is cynically encouraged by criminal syndicates who are notorious for ruthlessly controlling and exploiting beggars across the city. Coordinated action is needed to shut down their activities. The Social Welfare Minister is right to promise tough action to arrest people who exploit beggars and drive people into begging.
Stopping begging can also bring other positive benefits and aid moves to provide dignity to the lives of people in need. It will make it easier for authorities and NGOs to deliver welfare programmes which can help people find useful work and training.
City residents can also benefit far beyond just the immediate difference of a reduction in the nuisance of being approached for money. For a start less money will end up in the pockets of syndicates.
Moreover experience in cities such as New York suggests that localised initiatives to curb minor forms of anti-social behaviour which may have previously been ignored, such as begging, broken windows and graffiti within a neighbourhood, can have a huge positive impact. This extends to reducing far more serious forms of crimes within an area and improving the city’s overall economic viability.
By the same token, it is still necessary to fund initiatives that assist and rehabilitate former beggars. As neighborhoods and taxpayers can benefit economically by reducing begging, there is a case for targeted local levies on businesses and residents in areas where begging is reduced. Such funds should be earmarked to help fund rehabilitation programmes and necessary social welfare.
Source: Dhaka Tribune