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Government will soon bring a bill that seeks decriminalisation of beggary and aims to offer a life of dignity by rehabilitating beggars and homeless people. Social Justice Ministry has prepared a draft on 'The Persons in Destitution (Protection, Care and Rehabilitation) Model Bill, 2016' which aims to offer a life of dignity to the beggars and homeless and others who live in poverty or abandonment. The ministry today organised a pre-legislative consultation meeting with representatives from states and UTs to seek their opinion. "The Bill will provide protection, care, support, shelter, training and other services to all persons in destitution. The approach of the Ministry towards addressing the problem of destitution and beggary is rehabilitative rather than punitive," Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said while chairing the meeting. Expressing concern on the rise in number of destitutes, Gehlot asked all stakeholders to share their views and suggestions for the eradication of poverty. The Ministry has drafted a model legislation for the persons in destitution on the basis of recommendations that emerged from the National Consultation Meetings held with state representatives, experts in the field of beggary, Social Justice Secretary Anita Agnihotri said. Objective of the Bill is to provide protection, care, support, training and other services to persons in destitution and for establishing agencies to further the objectives identified there under, she added. At present there is no law at the centre level for begging and destitutes.
While most of the states have adopted Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959 or modelled their law on it. Beggary is crimnalised under Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959. Its aim is to eradicating beggary.