Jaipur, Feb 5 (PTI) Living on alms for years in Jaipur, Tulsiram, Raghunath and seven others like them are set to start a business unit and transform their lives, thanks to a Rajasthan government’s innovative skill development scheme for beggars.
A total of 33 beggars have been undergoing a three-month-long vocational training programme of the Rajasthan Skills and Livelihood Development Corporation (RSLDC).
Of them, a group of nine beggars showed interest in setting up a food outlet and the RSLDC and its training partner are now exploring the possibilities to help them in their venture and to tie up with online food ordering aggregators such as Zomato and Swiggy.
Hailing from Andhra Pradesh, 59-year-old Tulsiram is educated up to senior secondary. He said he had been working as a mechanic in Jodhpur and earning Rs 16,000 a month till 2004 when he left the city for Jaipur owing to persistent harassment by family members.
He wanted to find a job in Jaipur but could not get one and ended up begging.
“I had a dispute with my family members who were living in Ahmedabad at that time. As they had the landline number of one of my friends, they used to repeatedly call me and disturb me. So I left Jodhpur without telling anyone,” said Tulsiram.
“I came to Jaipur but could not start a decent life. Soon I ran out of money and started petty jobs and then begging,” he added.
“All my ambitions had died. I lived on the footpath and depended upon alms to feed myself. But the destiny has given me another chance now,” said Tulsiram, who is staying at the RSLDC training centre in Jagatpura.
Raghunath who is educated up to class 10 came to Jaipur from Madhya Pradesh several years ago in search of a job but he too ended up begging.
“Both of them are educated and can handle their work. During 15-day counselling, we assessed their potentials and decided to impart them training for catering and related services. We are in touch with Akshaya Patra Foundation and other NGOs to employ them after the training,” Jitendra Singh, the director of RSLDC’s training partner Sopan Institute, said.
He said possibilities are being explored for funding to open a small food supply unit for Tulsiram, Raghunath and others.
“The skill development training for beggars is a unique initiative and the pilot project of BHOR (Bhikshuk Orientation and Rehabilitation). It was started recently,” said Labour, Employment, Skill and Entrepreneurship Department Secretary Neeraj K Pawan.
“These beggars, hailing from different states, were chosen for training and shifted to the training centre to undergo skill development programme,” he added.
Apart from the skill development training, activities like Yoga and meditation too are conducted for the beggars staying on the campus. They wear a uniform and follow a particular routine.
Jitendra Singh said the administration has started the process of getting Aadhar cards and open bank accounts for them after police verification. PTI SDA RAX RAX