Manual scavenging-The Hindu-14-08-2022
Ministry draws a distinction between sewer cleaning and manual scavenging.
What is Manual Scavenger?
Manual scavenging is a term used mainly in India for "manually cleaning, carrying, disposing of, or otherwise handling, human excreta in an insanitary latrine or in an open drain or sewer or in a septic tank or a pit". Manual scavengers usually use hand tools such as buckets, brooms and shovels.
Government Legislation against Manual scavenger :
Strong protections were therefore placed in Part III to prevent social ostracism emanating from caste-practices. Article 15 ensured that a person’s caste-identity did not prevent them from the use of public spaces and resources like wells and tanks; and Article 17 abolished the practice of Untouchability in any form.
Article 21 i.e. the right to life that restrict from doing manual Scavenging.
The Untouchability Offences Act, 1955 , the first Act which sought to abolish this dehumanising practice was The Untouchability Offences Act of 1955 under Section 4.
The Protection of Civil Rights Act of 1977 (by amending the previous Untouchability Offences Act) which identified the practice of ‘scavenging’ on the ground of untouchability under Section 7A of the Act and made it punishable.
The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, specifies some types of offences as atrocities, provides for the imposition of stricter penalties for the guilty and setting up of special courts for speedy trial of such cases”.
Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993,provides for the prohibition of employment of manual scavengers as well as construction or continuance of dry latrines and for the regulation of construction and maintenance of water sealed latrines and matters connected therewith.
The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013,Act was brought in improve the mechanisms, increase accountability and widen the ambit of the definition of scavenging.
The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation (Amendment) Bill, 2020,e Bill, aims to completely modernize existing sewage system and the coverage of non sewer areas; setting up fecal sludge and sewage management system for the mechanized cleaning of the septic tanks, transportation and treatment of the fecal sludge; equipping the municipalities and Setting up of Sanitation Response Units with help lines. It proposes to make the law more stringent by increasing both fine and the term of imprisonment.
Valmiki Ambedkar Malin Basi Awas Yojna , 2001
Pre-Metric Scholarships for the Children of those Engaged in Unclean Occupations Total Sanitation Campaign , 1999
National Scheme of Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers , 1992
Integrated Low Cost Sanitation Scheme , 1980-81
Self-employment scheme for rehabilitation of manual scavenging , 2007
Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan , 2012 & 2014
National scheme of liberation and rehabilitation of scavengers and their dependents Integrated low cost sanitation scheme
Pay and Use Toilet Scheme
National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation
Assistance to State Scheduled Castes Development Corporations
The law regarding manual scavenging makes it necessary to use safety equipment before getting into the sewage/drain/septic tank to clean it. And yet, these cleaners are not equipped with the requisite safety and protection kits and are subjected to many health hazards and the risk of drowning.