SMILE Scheme


    In News 

    • Recently, the Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment launched the Central Sector scheme “SMILE: Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise.


    • The Ministry of  Social Justice & Empowerment has allocated 365 crore rupees for the scheme from 2021-22 to 2025-26.
    • It is set to provide welfare and rehabilitation to the Transgender community and the people engaged in the act of begging.
    •  It includes two sub-schemes –
      •  ‘Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons’ : It includes various components.  
    • It provides Scholarships for Transgender Students studying in IX and till  post-graduation to enable them to complete their education. 
    • It has provisions for Skill Development and Livelihood under the PM-DAKSH scheme. 
    • Through Composite Medical Health it provides a comprehensive package in convergence with PM-JAY supporting Gender-Reaffirmation surgeries through selected hospitals. 
    • The Housing facility in the form of ‘Garima Greh’ ensures food, clothing, recreational facilities, skill development opportunities, recreational activities and medical support etc. to the Transgender community and the people engaged in the act of begging
    • The Provision of Transgender Protection Cell in each state will monitor cases of offences and to ensure timely registration, investigation and prosecution of offences. 
    • The National Portal & Helpline will provide necessary information and solutions to the Transgender community and the people engaged in the act of begging when needed.
    • ‘Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation of persons engaged in the act of Begging : It will focus on Survey and identification, Mobilisation, Rescue/ Shelter Home and Comprehensive resettlement.

    Objectives and Need 

    • The scheme keeps in mind the social security that is needed through multiple dimensions of identity, medical care, education, occupational opportunities and shelter.
    • It aims to provide comprehensive welfare and rehabilitation measures to the Transgender community and the people engaged in the act of begging.
    • This scheme with skill training and modern education will definitely enable transgender community to move forward with the mainstream and this will signify the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas. 
    • The scheme strengthens and expands the reach of the Rights that give the targeted group the necessary legal protection and a promise to a secured life.

    Status of Beggars in India

    • Beggars:
      • The Bombay Act defines a “beggar” as anyone “having no visible means of subsistence, and wandering about or remaining in any public place in such condition or manner, as makes it likely that the person doing so exists by soliciting or receiving alms”.
      • It is a problem associated with poverty and unemployment and is a social problem of great magnitude and grave concern in developing countries.
    • Status:
      • According to the Census 2011 ,the total number of beggars in India is 4,13,670 (including 2,21,673 males and 1,91,997 females) and the number has increased from the last census.
      • West Bengal tops the chart followed by Uttar Pradesh and Bihar at number two and three respectively. Lakshadweep merely has two vagrants according to the 2011 census.
      • Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) has asked the Centre and four States to file their responses on a plea seeking a direction to repeal the provisions criminalising begging.
    • Various initiatives: 
      • Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS):
        • The Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) to create a safe and secure environment for children in need of care and protection including those children who are found begging. 
    • SAHAYA(Scheme for Protection, Care and Rehabilitation of Beggars)
      • The Odisha government had launched SAHAYA- an integrated scheme with the aims of ensuring protection, care and rehabilitation of beggars.