Welfare Schemes , Laws and Institutions for Manual Scavengers
This article deals with ‘Welfare Schemes , Laws and Institutions for Manual Scavengers.’ This is part of our series on ‘Governance’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here
Issues with Manual Scavenging
- Manual Scavengers are mostly Scheduled Castes ( Balmiki caste) who are involved in manually removing the human excrement from dry toilets of higher-caste families. In 1901, Mahatma Gandhi termed manual scavenging a national shame
- Manual Scavengers are considered impure & untouchable (in caste hierarchy resting on Purity & Pollution)
- Manual Scavengers have low life expectancy. Unhygienic work make them vulnerable to various infections
- Manual Scavengers are payed low wages and no financial security
- According to Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) 2011 – 8 Lakh manual scavengers
- However, actual number is much more
Initiatives already taken
1 . Legal initiatives
- Manual Scavengers (Prohibition and
- A “manual scavenger” is defined as a person who is engaged for manually cleaning human excreta in an insanitary latrine or in an open drain or on a railway track.
- If anyone employs a manual scavenger or constructs an insanitary latrine=> imprisonment up to one year or a fine of Rs 50,000 or both.
- Each occupier of an insanitary latrine is responsible for demolishing it at his own cost.
- Tasks the government to rehabilitate them in other jobs after training
- National Commission for Safai Karamchari has been formed to protect the interests of Manual Scavengers.
2. Judicial Support
In 2014, Supreme court ordered that
- Manual scavenging has to be ended
- Directed the centre & states to rehabilitate the scavengers
3. Technology use
- Installation of bio-digestors at public places and especially in the railways .
4. Swachh Bharat Mission
- Scheme has a provision to construct the flush toilets and penalize the dry toilet pit construction
5. Other Initiatives
- Valmiki Malin Awas Yojana: To provide housing to the safai karamcharis
- National Scheme for Rehabilitation of Scavengers: To provide training & rehabilitate them
Why we arent able to stop it till now ?
- Swachh Bharat Abhiyan => currently Rs. 12,000 is given to built latrine => poor quality requiring services of scavengers for cleaning septic tanks
- Term is not properly defined=> If protective gear is used, then we don’t count it but they still suffer from ritual impurity
- Western toilets used in India require more water => in water scarce villages , people go for dry toilet.
Some incidents in the past
|2020||Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) has revealed that 282 manual scavengers have been killed in last three years in India while cleaning sewers and septic tanks|
|Jan 2018||3 manual scavengers died in Bangalore|
|July 2017||4 Manual Scavengers died while cleaning Septic Tank in Delhi|