Dhaka is seeing more street begging than ever before. This is only natural. The amount of cash that circulates in society is huge and some has to be let go. While some are pushed by pity, others give out of guilt, a few even givento increase the sawab account. No matter what, it's a large skill based economy which our traditional development workers andNGOs notto mention policymakers, haven'treally come to terms with.

The result is a lack of strong policy regarding this sector and the attendant weak growth of this sector. Considering that it's a society which celebrates helplessness- the "Aha bechara "syndrome, it can do much better. Unfortunately, not enough attention is paid to the potential of this sector.

Part of this is because begging belongs to the informal sector and our policy makers are not familiar with this world. They are still stuck to the old fashioned formal sector of RMG and power station based economic policies. This has resulted in a major opportunity lost.

This is not to say that people aren't trying to innovate. Several FB and YouTube tutorials already exist on how to beg better and some rudimentary training is also offered to the interested. However,. What is required are more creative but scientific research based approaches and tapping into the latent markets and at a large scale.

The Pity profession

Begging is basically based on pity. You are touched by someone else's misery or feel guilty and give a small amount of money to get rid of the beggar. It's a simple method and it has worked for ages. For some , religious beliefs also play a part as induced pity gets brownie points which helps in avoiding hell and other difficult residential arrangements.

The problem is the rather limited marketing approach to the client/customer. Although begging is largely retail operations, the sectors need to go big.

Most beggars have a single approach: health and food security vulnerability. This is rather simplistic and though it has appeal to the Bangladeshi peasant mind, there are new avenues, sectors and channels that can be tapped into. Otherwise, Bangladesh faces an RMG type limited market high-competition crisis.

Quite frankly, no one believes that the beggars are poor or suffering from various ailments which they advertise in different ways. They know it's a fake but they give . So it should be treated as any business sector.

Which are the new potential sectors?

Being sick is a part of life but being hospitalized is much worse now. So instead of the disease, focus on the treatment miseries. Some sure shot hits which are guaranteed to produce positive reactions:

- I was in a private hospital ICU for one month. I had to sell everything to get discharged.

- I am a P.K. Haldar victim or e-commerce fraud. It's worse than my syphilis.

- Trying to get an e-passport to leave Bangladesh. Pls pay for payment.

- My job has little ghoosh opportunities. I can't pay for a second car.

More creative but crowd specific areas are:

- My husband won't help me with bills and my BF has run away with another's wife.

- Wife's boyfriend is richer than my girlfriend's husband. Pls help me to gain balance.

- Help me pay for a new lover. Husband/wife chippush and won't pay.

Current strategy of not eaten for 2 days simply doesn't work. People pay to get rid of the baa-baa coming from beggars.

NGOs, thinks tanks and media

This is a new sector for the NGOs who have been facing difficulties getting funds from abroad. They were saved by the Rohingya influx but now it's no longer a fashionable cause and funds are rapidly declining. So begging could be a new sector for them. It certainly can become self- paying too.

Our think tanks are always talking and ranting so they can also benefit from this new type of activity. Major projects can be launched which will study the pros and cons of new begging and if it's going right or not and get paid by donors for saying so. Occasional press conferences criticizing GOB action will be very popular.

Media of course stands to gain a lot. Regular statements by politicians which are so mind blowingly boring and read only by activists and politicians don't have the only bad food on the menu. Nor dire predictions of economic collapse and corruption.

That corona didn't kill one million as so many experts and shushils had said would have been a great lesson in unpredictability. Public has no interest in poverty related news produced by research outfits and paid by donors which are also boring. The result is huge dependence on porokiya. It's very high thankfully but if the remittance market falls, and husbands come home, it would be a major problem.

All these need to be taken seriously and that is why the best way out is to have a Ministry of Begging Affairs. Once that is done, the entire structure from top to the bottom will be complete and the economy will become robust again.

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