'Govt trying to end manual scavenging'

The government plans to set up a strategy to end the practice of manual scavenging, social justice and empowerment minister Mukul Wasnik said here on Wednesday.

“Even after concerted efforts to resolve the problem of manual scavenging, it still needs to be addressed,” said Wasnik while addressing a conference on ‘Social Inclusion and Affirmative Action’ organised by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).

Wasnik said the 2011 census revealed that there were over 26 lakh unhygienic toilets in India. In 13 lakh of them them human excreta is discharged in open drains, while the rest are cleaned by humans.

“At least 49.80 per cent households in India defecate in the open, thus it is a huge problem and we are committed to address the same effectively,” said Wasnik.

Dr P L Punia, chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, said it is necessary to impart education to disadvantaged sections of society. “Education is essential to get rid of the deep-rooted evil in social disparity, and there is a need to empower the socially deprived to perform better,” he said. According to experts, India must act on its responsibility towards disadvantaged sections of society. 

“This section accounts for nearly 25 per cent of India’s total population as per the census, and we must take steps to ensure that the country remains on the high growth path,” said Punia.

Recently, a popular TV show hosted had also highlighted the issue of manual scavenging, drawing attention from several quarters.

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