Muscat: In a move to curb the menace of begging, which increases especially during the holy month of Ramadan, the Ministry of Social Development has provided a link on its website for reporting any poor person genuinely in need of help, said a reliable source at the ministry.
"The link has been provided to help the poor in the community and the ministry is targeting needy people through the public," said the source.
He added that the general public had more knowledge of people who genuinely needed financial support. "Anybody can report needy persons and the ministry guarantees that the details of the reporting person will be kept confidential," the source informed.
He added that the team formed by the ministry for attending to needy persons reported on the website would deal with such cases within a week.
The person reporting a needy case can visit the link on the ministry's website to register their name, email address, contact number, place and provide details about the case.
"The reported needy case can be for personal, family member or any other individual," said the source.
"The service is named 'We Reach You'," said the source, adding that 358 needy cases had been reported to the Ministry until July 7. The ministry is providing the reporting service with the aim of curbing the menace of begging and encouraging people who usually give cash to beggars to instead help genuinely needy persons by reporting them to the Ministry, as it can help them in a better way.
"The ministry's team formed to deal with the reported needy cases will examine each case separately and proper documents to prove the financial situation in each case must be provided."
According to the ministry's records, its anti-begging team arrested 41 beggars, including 27 Omanis and 14 expatriates, during the first 14 days of Ramadan.
The records also show that 201 beggars had been arrested in the past two months, including 108 Omanis and 67 expatriates in May and 15 Omanis and 11 expatriates in June.
The source stated that the Ministry also examined the financial situation of Omanis arrested for begging. "The Ministry normally transfers some cases to the Ministry of Manpower for finding them jobs," said the source.
He added that other Omanis arrested for begging could receive a monthly stipend, while those who were not poor would be warned for the first time and referred to the public prosecution if they were caught for the second time.
"Most of the arrested beggars are below 18 years of age," said the source, adding that in such cases, their parents must give the ministry an undertaking that the children would not repeat the act.
"Arrested expatriate beggars are directly transferred to the public prosecution for further legal action," he said.
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