• The study says begging is not their choice but compulsion. Poverty pushed them into begging

Kathmandu, March 16

A recent study conducted by the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare has shown that a majority of people beg on the premises of temples in and outside the Kathmandu Valley due to poverty.

“Though poverty forced a section of these people to resort to begging to feed themselves and dependents, many of them are living with family. They camp outside the temples from dawn to dusk and reunite with their family in the evening,” the findings of the study reveal.

In some cases, physical disabilities, senility and poor health conditions have also pushed the deprived and excluded people to beg outside the temples. The study shows that a person earns Rs 150 to Rs 500 daily from begging. “Some of them were found to be making even up to Rs 2,000,” the findings say.

The study claimed that most of them refused the government’s offer of rehabilitation. “Instead, they wanted the government to support them as they were not able to meet their living costs. Begging is not their choice, but compulsion and family poverty pushed them into begging,” it says.

The beggars sleep in religious rest houses, tents, street and rented rooms, and some are alone and don’t have supporting hands for their mobility. With a sample size of only 65, the study team had interviewed them using structured questionnaire to confirm their socio-economic, physical and mental condition in 2017. The study said they were deprived of their right to live a dignified life.

Of the interviewed, 18 persons said they earned up to Rs 150 a day while 14 others said they made a daily average of Rs 151 which was too little to even feed themselves, not to mention their dependents.

At least 46.15 per cent of them are from the hill followed by 38.46 per cent from the Tarai and 15.39 from other countries.

Mountain people were not seen begging on the temple premises. Similarly, a whooping 83.07 per cent are married.

The study has recommended that the concerned authorities provide income generation activities to those who have been begging due to poverty and make an arrangement of shelters for helpless and incapacitated.