A minister stated that the Odisha government identified 6,970 homeless people in the state and is now implementing a program called Sahaya to provide their welfare.
Ashok Chandra Panda, the minister for social security and empowerment persons with disabilities, stated in a written response to the state Assembly that 4,128 male beggars and 2,842 women have been identified in all 30 Odisha districts. Panda however stated that the state does not have any child baggers.
Cuttack district is the most populous with 1,060 begging men. It is followed by 595 beggars in Ganjam district, 502 in Bolangir and 447 in Sundargarh.
He informed that Sonepur has 283 beggars, while Koraput has 222, Angul has 205, Jajpur has 196, Jajpur has 188, Jajpur has 189, Jajpur has 188, Bhadrak has 183, Nabarangpur is 176, Rayagada has 164, Mayurbhanj has 164, Dhenkanal, and Balasore has 131. Panda stated that the process is underway to include baggers who were not included in the list.
He said that the state government has implemented a scheme called Sahaya to ensure their welfare. Minister said that special drives called Ekamra Nilaya and Niladri Nilaya were launched in Puri, and Bhubaneswar, respectively.
The scheme has seen the opening of bagger rehabilitation centers in Khurda, Sambalpur, and Ganjam districts. Funds have also been approved for establishments in Rourkela municipality and Ganjam, and Dhenkanal. The government is currently considering a proposal to open such a centre at Cuttack Municipal Corporation, he said.