News:The Supreme Court of India has pulled up the Centre on the number of deaths of manual scavengers and for not providing them with protective gear.
About Manual scavenging:
- Manual scavenging is the practice of manually cleaning,carrying, disposing of, or handling human excreta.
- The International Labour Organization(ILO) distinguishes three forms of manual scavenging: a) Removal of human excrement from public streets and dry latrines, b) Cleaning septic tanks, and c) Cleaning gutters and sewers.
Issues faced by manual scavengers:
- Caste-based discrimination
- Poor Knowledge of existing laws
- Lack of occupational and safety measures
- Health issues
- Low pay
Government efforts to end Manual Scavenging:
- Government of India had enacted the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act,1993.
- The act prohibited the employment of manual scavengers for manually cleaning dry latrines and also the construction of dry toilets (that do not operate with a flush).
- In 2013,this was followed by the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 which was wider in scope.
- The act intends to eliminate unsanitary latrines and prohibit employment as manual scavengers.It also prohibits hazardous manual cleaning of sewer and septic tanks.
- In 2014,the Supreme Court has also made it mandatory for the government to identify all those who died in sewerage work since 1993 and provide ₹10 lakh each as compensation to their families.