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Eradicating Manual Scavenging is the responsibility of Centre & States: SC

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    31st Oct, 2023

Context:

The Supreme Court in a recent judgement held the Union and States are duty-bound to the pledge to completely eradicate manual scavenging through the stringent implementation of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

What is Manual Scavenging?

  • Manual evacuation refers to the process of removing human and animal waste from dry toilets and transporting it for disposal.
  • As per the “Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (MS Act, 2013)” manual scavenging means manually cleaning, carrying, disposing of, or handling in any manner, human excreta in an insanitary latrine.
  • It is prohibited with effect from December 2013.
  • It was officially banned by the anti-manual scavenging Act in 1993 as a degrading practice.

Government Initiatives:

  • The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 prohibits the construction or maintenance of unhygienic toilets, and the hiring of any person by hand cleaning or hazardous cleaning of sewer pipes and swimming pools.
    • It also provides measures to rehabilitate people identified by the Municipality as service providers.
  • Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees the ‘Right to Life’ and also with dignity.
  • Swachhta Abhiyan App: It has been developed to identify and geotag the data of insanitary latrines and manual scavengers so that the insanitary latrines can be replaced with sanitary latrines and rehabilitate all the manual scavengers to provide dignity of life to them.

Way Forward:

  • Proper Ownership: Nations need to accurately calculate the number of workers involved in cleaning up toxic mud.
  • Empowering Local Authorities: With the Swachh Bharat Mission identified as a priority area by the 15th Financial Commission and the available funds for smart cities and urban development provide a strong case to deal with the problem of manual seizures.
  • Social Sensitisation: To deal with social punishment after hand-to-hand extinction, it is necessary to first acknowledge and understand why and why hand-breaking continues to be included in the classification system.
  • Need for Strict Law: If the law creates a legal obligation to provide sanitation services to organs of state, it will create a situation where the rights of these workers will not be suspended.

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