Manual scavenging still prevails despite laws

New Delhi, (IANS) The Socio Economic and Caste Census of 2011 released on Friday reveals that over 1.8 lakh people from rural India are still engaged in manual scavenging despite the law prohibiting it.

The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act of 2013 prohibits any employment as manual scavengers and also promotes rehabilitation of these workers and their families.

About 1,80,657 people are engaged in the practice, according to the census report.

“The practice of employing manual scavengers comes from the medieval period, when there was a concept of untouchability. It is unfortunate that some sections of our society do not have any source to earn money and have to take up these jobs,” said Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of Sulabh International, an organisation which promotes environmental sanitation.

“Government has been making laws for these workers but it involves a simple principle of eliminating dry latrines or pits which are used as toilets. With all the technology we have today, this is the least we can do for these people,” Pathak added.

The report said that 63,713 people from Maharashtra, a state where major industries and technological companies have their presence, and around 23,093 from Madhya Pradesh are employed in manual scavenging.

The report also reveals that the union territory of Daman and Diu has a staggering 19.74 per cent of the rural workers as manual scavengers.

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