Large number of manual scavengers yet to get benefits

Large number of manual scavengers yet to get benefits

Karnataka stands sixth with 1,754 such people after Uttar Pradesh (19,712), Maharashtra (7,378), Uttarakhand (6,033), Rajasthan (2,590) and Andhra Pradesh (1,982) of the over 42,000 manual scavengers across the country. Photo/PTI

Over 42,000 manual scavengers were identified during a nationwide survey in 2018 but a large number of them are yet to get key benefits of a rehabilitation scheme for their welfare, including skill development training up to two years with a monthly stipend of Rs 3,000 or one-time cash assistance of Rs 40,000.

Out of the 42,302 manual scavengers identified in the survey, only 2,660 have got skill training so far, while only 252 have got the benefit of credit-linked back-end capital subsidy up to Rs 3.25 lakh under the Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS) scheme. The number of manual scavengers who got the one-time cash assistance stood at 26,288.

Of the over 42,000 manual scavengers across the country, Karnataka stands sixth with 1,754 such people after Uttar Pradesh (19,712), Maharashtra (7,378), Uttarakhand (6,033), Rajasthan (2,590) and Andhra Pradesh (1,982).

These figures were placed before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment headed by BJP MP Rama Devi, which expressed its concern over the continuing practice of manual scavenging in the country and said the government will have to take the implementation of the SRMS "very seriously" if it wants to eliminate this practice.

In a report placed in the Parliament recently, the panel said it "fails to fathom" that why only 2,660 manual scavengers were imparted skill training when skill development is an integral part of their rehabilitation. Karnataka saw only 149 of the 1,754 manual scavengers getting training after the 2018 survey while 1,136 got one-time cash assistance.

While the Department of Social Justice explained it will be remitting Rs 40,000 to the remaining manual scavengers once it receives the full bank details from district authorities, it has provided one-time cash assistance to 27,268 identified during the national survey.

The committee asked the Centre to direct the state governments to ask their urban local bodies to strictly prohibit cleaning of manholes manually and conduct inspections to ensure that contractors do not resort to hiring manual scavengers for the job.

"Machines should be used instead of manual scavengers for this purpose. The Department should also issue instructions to the implementing agencies to take strong punitive action against those who are responsible for employing labourers for cleaning of manholes and blacklist them," it said.

 

MANUAL SCAVENGERS IN INDIA:

  Manual scavengers identified under the 2018 survey

Manual Scavengers identified under the 2013 survey

Uttar Pradesh 19,712 12,095
Maharashtra 7,378 0
Uttarakhand 6,033 137
Rajashthan 2,590 338
Andhra Pradesh 1,982 78
Karnataka  1,754 732
All India 42,303 14,505

 

SKILL DEVELOPMENT OF MANUAL SCAVENGERS

  No. of manual scavengers provided Skill Development Training No. of women who were imparted training
2016-17 4,373 1,682
2017-18 334 69
2018-19 1682 895
2019-20 978 Unavailable

 

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