News: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has made a series of recommendations to the Centre to eradicate manual scavenging.
- Manual scavenging: It is the practice of manually cleaning, carrying, disposing of or handling human excreta. According to the 2011 Census, there are more than 26 Lakh insanitary latrines in the country and the existence of insanitary latrines is the main reason for manual scavenging.
Key Recommendations of NHRC:
- Broaden the definition of manual scavenging to cover other types of hazardous cleaning or enact a new law for it. A penal section may be put in law to prevent the discrimination and harassment faced by the children of manual scavengers and women manual scavengers.
- Rehabilitation process of manual scavengers may be linked to schemes under which they can immediately start earning like MNREGA and revisit to see how they and their families are doing;
- Compensation: The amount of compensation paid as one time cash assistance for rehabilitation of manual scavengers may be enhanced from Rs. 40,000/- to Rs. 1 Lakh. Nodal authority/department that will bear the expense of such Compensation may also be clearly specified;
- Ensure to remove the role of middlemen by making provision like direct benefit transfer or by collaborating with NGOs;
- Strict Action against local authorities who employ people to work as manual scavengers; An App and a toll-free number for registration of complaints;
- The National Crime Research Bureau (NCRB) to monitor the sewer deaths and data reflected in its report;
- Union Finance Ministry may designate particular Nationalized Bank for each State to take-up the responsibility of extending loans to the Manual Scavengers and their dependents’ up to Rs.10.00 lakhs to take up the business Activity;
- Either individual or group insurances must be provided to Manual Scavengers and the premium shall be paid by the concerned Local Bodies;
- National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC) may provide financial assistance to manual scavengers to help start up working in the domain of sanitation and training to them.
Further Reading On Manual Scavenging: https://blog.forumias.com/swachhata-abhiyan-mobile-application/