**Bhubaneswar**: If everything goes as per the plan then Odisha will soon be a state of beggars free. The State Government has taken an initiative to rehabilitate the persons engaged in the begging profession.
Nitin Chandra, Secretary of State Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Department, on Monday has sent a letter in this regard to all district collectors.
The State Government has directed collectors to submit rehabilitation plans by April 30. The best rehabilitation plan will bag an award, the letter said.
In the letter, Chandra asked the collectors to begin the process of identifying beggars from temples where they found in large numbers.
“Homestead land, houses, insurance coverage, Aadhar card, ration card, healthcare, developing skill living by restoring their psychological strength, vocational skills for wage or self-employment included in the proposed rehabilitation plan,” the letter said.
Education and scholarship facilities for the children of the beggars would be provided.
Besides, the Government has plans to shift elderly and female beggars to old age home and to bring them under various social welfare schemes.
The letter also stated that at least 25 beggars from each district will be awarded either on Independence Day or Republic Day if they transform themselves physically, skillfully and socially taking benefits of these schemes.
Notably, according to Census 2011, Odisha has total 6550 beggars (3850 male and 2700 female), the second highest in the country after West Bengal 13,728.
Total 4,13,670 beggars (2.2 lakh male and 1.91 lakh female) are registered in India.