Govt. introduced the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012 in Parliament during Monsoon session. Previous Act of 1993, hardly made any dent in stopping or even minimizing the practice. This is demonstrated from the fact that there is not a single conviction under that Act.
2011 census compiled a data on the type of latrines in the individual household. As per the same, there are almost 25 lakh household who use dry latrine, and who are likely engage manual scavenging services one way or other. These include 7.4 lakh households across the country where humans are involved in the direct removal of nightsoil, 12.33 lakh households disposing night soil in open drains and 4.93 lakh households, where night soil is serviced by animals. Last two categories may not be directly employing the humans, however these persons are most likely to employ the services of humans subsequently.
While average of such household at national level only comes to 0.3%, however there are large variations, J&K (8.9%), Manipur (2%) and UP (1%).
SC recently criticized the Govt. for not banning practice of manual scavenging till now. The proposed Bill has made a district magistrate responsible to ensure that no person within his/her jurisdiction is engaged as a manual scavenger or constructs an insanitary latrine and manual scavengers are rehabilitated. It also makes it mandatory for municipalities, cantonment boards and railway authorities to construct adequate number of sanitary community latrines within three years of this Act coming into force. The Bill has provision to imprison / fine of Rs 50,000/-, if anyone employs a manual scavenger or constructs an insanitary latrine.
Recently around 1000 people marched over 63 days through 18 states, covering 200 districts demanding prohibition of this practice. Organisers claimed that around 3000 persons were liberated from this inhuman practice during the yatra.
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