Finance Minister AMA Muhith has estimated that the number of beggars is now 600,000 in Bangladesh.

“The number of beggars has declined in the country over the years. Those who still beg are professional beggars,” he said while speaking at a function organised to mark the Corruption Prevention Week at the Shilpakala Academy in Dhaka on Thursday.

“It is not possible to bring them back from begging as they are professional. They will go back to their profession even after they are provided with shelter.”

Muhith also claims that nobody dies of hunger in Bangladesh anymore, bdnews24.com reports.

“Begging will completely be rooted out once the Sheik Hasina-led government comes back to power.”

He believes the day is not far off when people will not die of hunger and not beg anymore.

Muhith said he saw people dying from hunger in disaster-prone areas of Bagerhat in his early days. “Now nobody dies there without food.”

About the corruption, Muhith said litigation for corruption has also decreased and those guilty are getting punished.

“Corruption engulfs the country. Nobody will be able to say this after eight or ten years.”

Echoing Muhith, ACC Chairman Iqbal Mahmood said poverty is the root cause of corruption. “This evidence can hardly be seen anywhere.”

He questioned the true picture in the audit reports submitted to the securities regulator by some firms.

“Separate audit reports are made by the same companies for submitting to the different departments or regulators. How is it possible?” he said.

Bringing the issue to the finance minister’s notice, the ACC chief said: “It’s corruption. We can investigate these cases once the finance minister permits.”