The Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Mukul Wasnik inaugurated one day National Workshop on Total Eradication of Manual Scavenging and Dignified Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers organized by National Commission for Safai Karamcharis under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India here today. Shri Mukul Wasnik in his address as a Chief Guest of the event stressed upon the rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers. He said that prevailing of Manual Scavenging is a dehumanizing and degrading the dignity of the human being.
Speaking on the occasion he said that Eradication of the practice of manual scavenging is an area of high priority for the Government. For this purpose, the Government had adopted a four-pronged strategy consisting of:
(i) Administration of the employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993;
(ii) conversion of dry latrines into water seal toilets,
(iii) rehabilitation of manual scavengers and their dependents, into alternative occupations, and
(iv) supporting education of their children through Scholarships to pursue higher education.
Shri Wasnik also said that some persons are still engaged in this cruel practice and Government has taken up the matter with the concerned State Governments to verify this and take suitable steps to rehabilitate the Manual Scavengers. The Ministry of Home Affairs has also issued an office memorandum to States/UTs on 25.4.2011 stating that the Govt. of India is deeply concerned on the continuance of manual scavenging which violates human dignity. The Advisory has categorically mentioned that engaging or employing a member of a Scheduled Castes or a Scheduled Tribes to clean, handle or carrying of human excreta amounts to violating his or her dignity and therefore, may fall within the ambit of the relevant provisions of PoA Act.
Minister remarked that one of the major problems has been that the implementation of the 1993 law has been weak and not even a single person has been convicted under it. The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012" has been prepared and called for comments from concerned Central Ministries/Commissions. He said that the Ministry would introduce this Bill in the Monsoon session of the Parliament.
Those who were present included Shri K.M. Acharya, Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri P.L. Punia, Chairperson, National Commission for Scheduled Caste and Shri Kamla Gujar, chairperson of National Commission for Safai Karamcharis.