THE NEW NAME TO UNTOUCHABILITY IN INDIA : MANUAL SCAVENGING

Shilpee Ghosh
Author:

Abstract

Manual plucking has been practiced since the dawn of civilisation. Manually cleaning dirt at night, which involves using bare hands, brooms, or metal scrapers to remove human feces from dry toilets; and shipping excrement and baskets to landfills for disposal, is not only a demon of, but also a probable violation of the greatest degree of human rights. Despite the passage of several laws aimed at promoting a fair and caste-free society, the scavenger groups' living circumstances have remained poor. This study sheds light on how manual scavenging began and how it continues in a world where technology has grown so much that people are embracing it into their daily lives to make living more pleasant and easier, yet they are still unable to eliminate manual cleaning. The investigation of the statutory framework, administrative systems, and judicial decisions is another component of this article.

Keywords : Manual Scavenging, India, Deaths, Laws , Prohibition.

1. Introduction to manual scavenging

Every month, there are reports of individuals dying after being asked to clean manholes. Why hasn't mechanical manhole cleaning been considered in the city? Why is it the most depressed man's task to clean up while also losing his life? Swachh Bharat will result in not just the desired physical benefits, but also a shift in lifestyle and philosophy. Sanitation is a sort of social transformation that is as significant as, if not more so, than economic reform. However, the question remains: "Will mechanical manhole cleaning put a stop to manual scavenging?"

An estimated 1.2 million people were enslaved by inhumane hand-harvesting practices in India. There are several types of manual collectors for cleaning dry toilets, septic tanks, train tracks, sewers, sewage treatment plants, etc. The working conditions, gender, and degree of salary are also different. For example, in the cleaning of dry toilets or community dry toilets (CDL) in rural areas and small towns, almost 90% of garbage collectors are women. Manual cleaning has been tied to the caste system in India from ancient times, with lower castes or "untouchables" obliged to undertake this task. This type of dehumanization is widespread throughout the country and is carried out by people of the lowest caste level. This practice is not only humiliating, but also one of the main causes of discrimination. Artisanal scavengers face extreme danger, social exclusion and low wages. For example, women who clean dry toilets work in a middle-income family in the village, and their income does not exceed Rs 50 because they involve the largest number of manual sweepers. Many times, they only get food or grains. The average life span of a scavenger does not exceed 50-55 years. They suffer from respiratory diseases, cardiovascular diseases, meningitis, cholera, typhoid fever and other diseases. Approximately 600 artisanal scavengers die from these diseases each year, primarily as a result of inhaling harmful fumes from sewers. We can send machines and satellites into outer space, but we cannot send machines into sewers and sewers instead of humans. This is a great shame to all Indians.

They are subjected to intergenerational torment as well as severe bodily and psychological harm as a result of caste prejudice. Manual sweepers (95% of them are women) clean dry toilets in their villages or suburbs by hand. They hoisted and moved a considerable amount of manure from the sugar cane basket to the appropriate dumping place. Feces will flow across their faces and bodies during the hot weather and rain. The odour is unpleasant, as are the working conditions. Other "contamination" jobs that the manual collector is required to accomplish include removing animal corpses, washing the placenta after childbirth, and numerous funeral-related chores. Their children are also subjected to prejudice at school[1]. Manual cleaning is found all across India, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, and in both impoverished and developed areas. Although a law prohibiting the use of manual scavengers and the construction of dry toilets (the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Toilets (Prohibition) Law) was approved in 1993, it was never implemented due to a lack of commitment.

Manual cleaning is not just a technical or economical problem; it is also a social and political one that denies people a decent life. As a result, attempts to tackle it through livelihood planning have failed.

2. History of manual scavenging

The caste system in India is inextricably linked. Our country's inhabitants are split into distinct classes, according to Rig-Veda As a result, there are four different sorts of Varnas. Brahmin society, which includes priests and a class of intellectual society, is the most significant, followed by Kshatriya, which contains warriors. The Brahman society is said to have originated from Brahma's mouth, Kshtraiyas from his arms, Vysias from his thighs, and lastly the shaking of Brahma's legs. The Shudders are persons who have been oppressed. They're known as Bhangis, which means "broken" or "garbage." "Caste-based social order is guided by tradition and is socially and economically enforced," according to the report. Sudra was compelled to clean up all those dry toilets and gather garbage in classical times because there were no modern toilets. As a result, society progressively created a demand for manual garbage collection. "The practice of hunting for waste by particular castes in India has existed since the civilization[2], according to the content of religious books and other sources." "Manual gathering is one of the 15 responsibilities of slaves described in the Naradiya Samhita. During Buddhism and the Maurya Dynasty, this persisted for years." As can be observed, the hand search has evolved in tandem with the development of the location framework, and is currently taking place throughout this country from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. The Mughals, according to some, were the ones who began the hand searches in northern India. This also continued to exist in Buddhism and Mullaya period. In India, in 1556 AD, Jahangir built a public bath for 100 families in Alva, 120 kilometers from Delhi. There isn't a lot of documentation on its upkeep. According to scholars, Mughal women with deep boudoirs require secluded bathrooms that must be kept clean. It's worth noting that the Bangui and the Rajputs shared several clan names, implying that the Bangui were the descendants of those kidnapped during the conflict. Bhangis have several traditions surrounding their origins; historically, they are a hand-picked scavenger. The origin of Mehtar bhangis is described in one of them, which is connected to Lal Beg bhangis.

3. Let's look at what manual scavenging entails.

The process of physically removing rubbish and cleaning sewers from toilets and latrines without following or utilizing any safety measures is known as manual scavenging. If we just put the words to construct a basic definition, untreated human waste is manually removed from a pit toilet or bucket toilet. Basic instruments like buckets packed with bags and handles are used by manual sweepers. The garbage is then manually transported to the disposal location by the personnel. This condition is widespread across the country. For many years, it has been a profession for many individuals. The majority of them are from predetermined castes, tribes, and social levels. They also told their family members about it and it becomes a family tradition to follow the same profession. They provide vital services to our society, but they are mostly overlooked. We commonly assume they are unreachable, which is against Indian Constitutional Article 17's prohibition. According to our Constitution, they, too, have the right to a decent existence. According to Article 46 of the Indian Constitution, the state is responsible for protecting the weakest members of society i.e. manual scavengers, yet it failed to safeguard and rehabilitate these hand gatherers. The Dry Toilet Construction (Prohibition) Act 1993, and the National Committee's Safay Karam Charis Act No. of 1993 were all enacted by the central government, but they were not implemented appropriately, if at all. We hardly see any improvement. On September 18, 2013, the Central Government passed a new legislation named "Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Law" in response to the dehumanization of manual cleaning and non-compliance with present regulations.

3. Who is a manual scavenger?

Anyone who contracts with individuals or local governments or hires to manually clean, transport, or dispose of dry toilets from unsanitary toilets, human waste from open channels, wells, or railroad tracks is a manual scavenger, according to Section 2(j) of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993. It doesn't matter whether the person gets a regular job or is employed in accordance with the law.

Exception: Manual sweepers are not considered by the law if they wear suitable protective clothes and equipment. Government/private enterprises and municipalities employing Safai Karamcharis as sweepers should not be considered manual pickers.

4. The Employer with the Most Manual Scavengers

The greatest irony in the case of manual gatherers is that the Indian Railways government entity is the country's largest employer of manual gatherers. Manual sweepers, on the other hand, are not employed by the government. In India, train passenger carriages feature restrooms that can pour excrement right onto the tracks. These wastes are then cleaned up by manual collectors hired by the contractor who bids at the lowest price. The reality is that if India's largest government organization engages in a forbidden conduct, its habits will spread throughout the country.

5. Figures of manual scavenging in India

India took the first move toward prohibiting manual scavenging 28 years ago. However, by 2021, the country will have more than 10 lakh manual scavengers, and the national government would need to quickly identify who they are.[3] First, the number of manual collectors must be linked to the existing sanitation infrastructure. According to the 2011 census, there are approximately 2.6 million dry toilets in India, of which the body flushes human excrement. Currently, there are 5 million sanitation workers in India, and more than a third of them have done manual cleaning at some point. According to data in 2019[4], even after the "Ban on Employment as Hand Pickers and its Rehabilitation Act" was passed, there are still around 1.5 million hand sweepers in India, more 70% of them are women. Deaths of sanitation workers due to asphyxiation under sewers and septic tanks continue to be recorded on a daily basis across India under their Rehabilitation Act (Manual Scavengers Act) 2013.

Despite the fact that a 2013 regulation barred the use of manual pickers, a government survey conducted in July 2019 found 54,130 persons working in the industry. Because the poll was only done in places where “there is reason to think that there are manual collectors,” the number is understated. The study took place in 170 areas across 18 states. Between 1993 and July 2019, 4,444,814 manual collectors who cleaned sewers and septic tanks died in 20 Indian states and the state of Utah. Only 11 of these 20 states pertain to the terms of compensation paid by the deceased's relatives. This suggests that the number of recognized manual collectors and deaths may be underestimated.

Between 1993 and July 2019, 206 individuals died in Tamil Nadu as a result of manual sewer and septic tank cleaning. This is the most out of all of the states. With 156 such deaths, Gujarat is the state with the second greatest number. In 15 states including the state of Utah, there were no death records.

6. Constitutional prohibitions prohibiting manual scavenging in India

Manual scavengers are entitled to specific rights in addition to those guaranteed by the Indian constitution because they are members of the underprivileged portion of society. The following are some of the most important and crucial constitutional provisions:

1) Article 14: Everyone is equal before the law (right to equality);

2) Article 16 (2): Equal employment opportunities;

3) Article 17: Elimination of traffic inconvenience;

4) Article 19 (1) (a) Article: The right to exercise any occupation or engage in any occupation, trade or business;

5) Article 21: Protection of life and personal liberty;

6) Article 23: Prohibition of human trafficking and forced labor, etc.;

7) Article 41: The right to work, education and public assistance in certain circumstances;

8) Article 42: Fair and humane working conditions;

9) Article 46: Promote education and education of registered castes, registered tribes and other disadvantaged groups Economic benefits;

10) Article 47: The state is responsible for improving nutrition and living standards and improving public health.

11) Article 338: Constitution of the National Committee of Castes.

7. Legislative framework

1) The protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955[5] - The initial purpose of the untouchability (Offenses) Act of 1955 was to put an end to the practice of untouchability and the social restrictions that it imposed on members of the scheduled castes. The Protection of Civil Rights Act of 1955 was renamed the Protection of Civil Rights Act of 1955 when it was updated in 1977. Under the modified Act, the practice of untouchability was deemed a cognizable and non-compoundable offense, and violators faced heavier punishments.

2) The Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989[6]- On January 31, 1990, the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 went into effect. The Act identifies specific types of acts as atrocities, mandates heavier penalty for those who commit them, and establishes special courts to accelerate the trial of such cases, among other things. The Act's major purpose is to prevent atrocity crimes against members of scheduled castes and tribes, to establish special courts to try such crimes, to offer relief and rehabilitation to victims of such atrocities, and to handle other concerns that are linked to or incidental to such crimes. Recent revisions to the Act have tightened it even further in regards to manual scavengers[7]. The Central Government announced the Act on January 1, 2016, making it illegal to engage, authorize, or make any individual from the SC/ST group to conduct manual scavenging[8]. A violation of this article is punishable by a minimum of six months in jail and a maximum of five years in jail, as well as a fine.

3) Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993[9]- The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 (hereafter EMSCDL Act, 1993) restricts the use of manual scavengers and controls the erection and maintenance of water sealed latrines, among other things. To replace it, the PEMSR Act of 2013 was passed.

4) The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013[10] - Employment as a manual scavenger is illegal and punishable under the law. States are now responsible for locating and restoring hand sweepers under the Act. Training, help, financing, and even housing must all be provided by the state. The legislation makes it illegal to have dry toilets or other types of filthy toilets, thus local governments are responsible for locating dry toilets in the region and demolishing or converting them to sanitary toilets.

The crimes and penalties provided for in the law are analyzed below :

Article 5 of the law deals with the use of hand sweepers and the ban of filthy toilets. Building or maintaining unhygienic toilets, as well as hiring or contracting someone to work as a manual scavenger, are all violations of this provision.

Article 6 stipulates that any contract / agreement for the hiring / hiring of manual sweepers signed before the implementation of the Law will be invalid and no compensation will be granted.

Section 8 of the Act establishes penalties for violations of Sections 5 and 6. It stipulates that the first crime will be punishable by a maximum of one year’s imprisonment with or without a fine of up to 50,000 rupees, and the other 7 crimes will be punishable by a maximum of two years’ imprisonment, regardless of whether the penalty is extended to 100,000 rupees. .

There is a provision in Section 7 of the Act that prohibits any person, authority or local agency from participating in/hiring anyone to perform dangerous cleaning of sewers or septic tanks.

Section 9 stipulates penalties for violations of Section 7, and stipulates that the first violation shall be punishable by a maximum of two years’ imprisonment, with or without a fine of up to 200,000 rupees, and further violations, the maximum length of prison. Five years, regardless of whether the penalty is up to 500,000 rupees.

5) National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993[11]- The law formed the Safai Karamcharis National Committee to research, assess, and monitor the execution of different safai karamcharis programs as a self-governing body, as well as to address their problems. The law is welfare law created for the benefit of those who work in state agencies cleaning and plumbing. According to Article 31 of the PEMSR Law, the Safai Karamchari National Committee has the legal obligation to oversee the implementation of the PEMSR Law, 2014 and to investigate any infractions or non-compliance.

6) National commission for schedule caste (NCSC)[12]- The committee's job is to protect the interests of India's schedule castes. Article 338 (5) of the Indian Constitution outlines the NCSC's responsibilities[13] :

to examine and regulate all aspects concerning the assurances offered for the registered castes, as well as to assess the effectiveness of such guarantees;

to look into particular complaints concerning the denial of rights to recognized castes and to put in place safeguards;

participate and make recommendations on the socio-economic development planning process of registered castes, and evaluate their progress in development;

Make recommendations on how the Union, or any other country, can successfully implement these safeguards and other measures to protect the castes, welfare, and social development of persons on the list;

Performing various duties pertaining to protection, welfare, and development, as well as the advancement of schedule castes;

to provide recommendations in such reports on the actions that the Union or any state should take to put such safeguards and other measures in place for the scheduled castes' protection, welfare, and socioeconomic development.

8. Government schemes

The following are some projects for the wellbeing of scavenging communities:

1) Self-employment scheme for rehabilitation of manual scavenging (SRMS) -

The government began this project in April 2007 to release and rehabilitate manual scavengers. The SRMS was revised by the Central Government to provide rehabilitation to all manual scavengers who met the requirements of the Manual Scavengers Act, 2013[14]. One-time cash assistance, subsidized training, and subsidized soft loans are some of the main features of the plan.

2) National scheme of liberation and rehabilitation of scavengers and their dependents (NSLRSD) - The NSLSRD was created in 1989 with the goal of freeing manual scavengers from their difficult hereditary vocation of manually clearing night soil and providing them with a respectable alternative occupation. According to a CAG audit from 2003, the strategy failed to meet its aim of investing rupees and 6 crore rupees. According to the CAG investigation, there was a "lack of correlation between "freedom" and "rehabilitation," and there was no indication that individuals who were "liberated" were actually "rehabilitated."[15]

3) Integrated low cost sanitation scheme - The Ministry of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation of the Indian government, in partnership with HUDCO, has started a major effort for Integrated Low Cost Sanitation, which aims to transform dry latrines into water-borne low-cost sanitation systems while simultaneously freeing manual scavengers. HUDCO has also been aiding with basic sanitation projects[16].

4) Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) (2009-14) and Swach Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) (2014- 19) - Because insanitary waste disposal procedures are the fundamental cause of hand scavenging (dry latrines, open defecation etc.). The Total Cleanliness Campaign (TSC), rebranded Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan in 2012, was launched in 1999 with the goal of achieving 100 percent sanitation in rural and urban regions by 2017. In 2014, the NBA was superseded by the SBA. SBA was created with the following goals in mind:

i. There will be no more open defecation.

ii. Manual scavenging must be eliminated.

iii. Municipal Solid Waste Management, which is both modern and scientific.

iii. To influence people's minds about the need of good sanitation.

Paradoxically, despite numerous constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards and frameworks, the fate of handicraft collectors remains dire. Recognition of artificial scavengers develops at the speed of a snail, and most rehabilitation programs aimed at the welfare of artificial scavengers have ended in failure.

9. Judicial intervention in manual scavenging

1) Safai Karamchari Andolan v. Union of India[17] - In this case, the Supreme Court recognized that the threat of a manual scavenging in India is an inhumane, degrading and unworthy profession. The Supreme Court observed that the PEMSR Act of 2013 and the EMSCDL Act of 1993 did not downplay the constitutional authorization of Article 17 of the Constitution or tolerate the inaction of labor unions and state governments under the EMSCDL Act of 1993. The Supreme Court held that the 2013 law of PEMSR clearly recognizes Articles 17 and 21 of the Constitution as the rights of people who are committed to cleaning wastewater and cleaning tanks and people who clean human feces on train tracks.

“Official records from the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment reveal that the number of manual scavengers was 6,76,009 in 2002 and 2003,” stated P. Sathasivam CJ. More than 95 percent of these people are Dalit’s who are forced to do this terrible work. Various international treaties and documents were also mentioned by the Supreme Court. The dignity of their professions in human life and other parts of life is protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, both of which India is a signatory to. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CERD). The Supreme Court made the following recommendations for manual collectors' restoration:

To stop manual garbage collection and prevent the inhumane practices of manual garbage collection for future generations, the restoration of manual garbage collection should include:

(a) Sewer death: Even in an emergency, entering sewer lines without safety equipment should be a criminal. The relatives of the dead must be compensated in the amount of Rs. one million for each such death.

(b) Railway: You should adopt a time-limited strategy to end manual garbage collection on the track.

(c) People who are free from manual garbage collection should not cross obstacles to get the remuneration due according to law.

(d) Provide dignified livelihood support to Safai Karamchari women according to the livelihood plan chosen by them.

(e) Identify the relatives of all people who have died while working on sewage systems (sewer wells, septic tanks) since 1993, and give them a one-million-rupee stipend for each fatality.

(f) Rehabilitation must be founded on justice and reform ideas.

According to Part IV of the 2013 PEMSR Act, the Supreme Court stressed the need to modify manual garbage collectors. The Supreme Court instructed state governments and union territories to completely execute the PEMSR Law of 2013's requirements and to take necessary action in the event of non-compliance or violation of the law's requirements.

2) Delhi Jal Board v. National Campaign for Dignity & Rights of Sewerage& Allied Workers[18] - In this case, the Supreme Court of India rendered a landmark ruling, highlighting the plight of socially disadvantaged groups, especially sweeping and sewage workers. These people manually clean the sewers without using any safety equipment, thus endangering their life, health and suffering, because they have been deprived of their basic rights to equality, life and liberty for a long time. The court has reason to criticize the federal and state governments for their disregard for the safety and well-being of these manual scavengers. Due to extreme poverty, these people are forced to work in the most cruel conditions and their health is at risk. In this case, the High Court ordered the citizen group to ensure that the Delhi High Court ruling on the safety of sewer workers and manual sweepers is quickly enforced and further compensation is awarded to the relatives of the deceased. .

10. Reasons for manual cleaning in India

There are few water toilets: Dry toilets are the most common form of toilet in India's cities, which is why hand cleaning is necessary. According to a 2011 home inventory and census survey, there were around 26 million unclean toilets. Furthermore, there is no plan in place for the adaption of dry toilets in rural regions.

Lack of adequate rehabilitation and employment opportunities: The problem of manual cleaning persists in India because the system is unable to completely rehabilitate sanitation personnel. A major issue and a significant player in the inclusion strategy is a lack of work possibilities. Furthermore, there are no special government initiatives to address the situation of manual scavenger families, making their issues inaccessible to mainstream solutions.

Lack of release strategy: Did not propose enough strategiesto release manual scavengers psychologically. This motivatesthose who are practicing to practice hand search moreand more deeply.

Social stigma: Because of their occupation, many believe that manual scavengers are unreachable. As a result, society is unable to embrace them and include them in communal activities. There is no employer who will hire them, and their landlord will not let them rent their homes.

Denial of the existence of manual scavengers: Despite the claimed mortality toll, the government and other large private entities deny the presence of manual scavengers, which is the main roadblock to tackling the problem. These authorities created no difficulty in resolving the issue by denying it.

11. The impact of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on manual scavenging

India says that over 10 million toilets have been installed since 2014, giving toilets to nearly 95 percent of homes, according to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The toilets are linked to septic tanks with soaking pits, single pits, or sewer lines. According to the 2017-2018 National Rural Sanitation Survey, 13 percent of toilets have double pits, 38 percent of toilets have septic tanks with soaking pits, and 20% of toilets have single pits. Although the double pit breed does not require manual manure handling, the other two species must. After a period of time, the dung must be removed manually or mechanically.

Given the high number of soaking pit septic tanks and single pit toilets in rural regions, as well as the restricted availability of mechanical suction pumps at the village level, it is clear that the majority of these toilets must be cleaned manually. Given that the epidemic of manual cleaning has been labelled as an urban concern in the present political climate, it is important to highlight the situation of health in rural communities.

While the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has unquestionably resulted in extraordinary good behavior and infrastructural changes in toilet usage, we still require more work and time to dramatically minimize manual cleaning. Perhaps the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, at the policy level, has solved the problem of going to the bathroom while ignoring the workers who clean the restroom.

12. Recent development in order to end manual scavenging

As a historic move to end the ancient practice of manual garbage collection, the federal government decided to amend the law to mandate automatic cleaning of septic tanks and sewers. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will amend the Prohibition of Manual Scavengers and Rehabilitation Act (PEMSR) to end dangerous practices believed to have existed since the beginning of Indian civilization, the center announced. On the occasion of World Toilet Day on Thursday.

In addition, the Ministry of Urban Affairs, within the framework of its `Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge` initiative, will ensure that you enter the septic tank or sewer for manual cleaning. The ministry will provide funds to citizen workers to purchase cleaning machines. "We want workers to own these machines so that municipalities can use them when necessary," the Times of India quoted a report to Federal Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.

From "manhole" to "machine manhole" In official usage, the term "manhole" will be replaced by "machine manhole" to bring about a paradigm shift in the way problems are handled, Puri added.

13. Intervention through technology is the way to go

Dr. Bindshwar Patak, creator of Sulabh International, launched India's first sewage cleansing equipment, "Hope Machine," on World Toilet Day this year. The system can pump high pressure into tunnels and tanks while also collecting garbage in mechanical buckets. Some of the machine's useful features are gas detecting sensors, high-resolution inspection cameras, protective equipment, and clothes. If adopted on a wide scale, this type of functional technology can progressively address the problem. Bandicoot, a technology invention produced by Genrobotics, is another excellent technology invention. The robot is intended to clear obstructions, collect trash, and clean sewers. Simulates the actions of manual labour quite well. The Bandicoot, which supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules, has four limbs and a barrel system coupled to a spider-shaped extension. In a month, the spider-shaped hands can clean up to 400 manholes. Because of this achievement in the Kerala government in Thiruvananthapuram, this robot will be implemented in other cities as well. The center may think about applying similar policies in other nations.

14. Why is the country strive to eliminate "manual cleaning"?

A manual collector is a worker employed by a municipal government or agency to manually clean, transfer, and dispose of human waste in filthy toilets, according to the Manual Collector and Rehabilitation Prohibition Act of 2013. In reality, the authorities seemed to be utterly unsure of what manual cleaning entails. Septic tank and sewage cleaners are not considered "manual collectors" by it. There is no question that this is the outcome of utter institutional stupidity.

Indian Railways' current state is a sobering truth. With a daily minimum wage of 200 rupees, it is the largest employer of workers masquerading as contract sweepers. This is a classic illustration of the government's failure. He denied the presence of manual collectors, instead cleaning the toilets using these cleaners. Although Gujarat, Kerala, and Maharashtra have previously disputed the presence of manual collectors, a current inquiry by the Safai Karamchari National Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC) has revealed that manual collectors exist in these states as well.

With the country's rapid economic progress, callous behavior has caused us to retreat and highlighted our failure to defend basic human rights. It is critical to create awareness throughout the country and then rigorously adhere to the 2013 National and Central Government Law on the Prohibition of Manual Collector Employment and Rehabilitation. Simply following the law or making a change will not put an end to cruel behavior. To create alternative work opportunities for people, knowledge of the need to eliminate landfills must be paired with technological solutions and restoration plans.

15. Rehabilitation

To fully restore these manual collectors, an effective approach must be sought. For them, the loan application procedure should be simpler. They must also obtain training in other jobs to strengthen their talents. Training in skill development is critical for the long-term rehabilitation of artisanal collectors. As a result, a clear plan must be developed, easy-to-transform departments must be identified, and appropriate and free training must be provided.

Manual cleaning, on the other hand, cannot be eliminated anytime soon since it is strongly embedded in our social system. As a result, fast action is required to improve the condition of the manual collector. These are the steps:

1) Compensation: The Indian government is required to pay rupees in accordance with the directives of the higher court. One million dollars as recompense for the families of those who perished cleaning the sewers (after 1993). The primary reason for this is because many individuals are still unfamiliar with the layout. To make matters worse for manual garbage collectors, the majority of contractors who hire them frequently deny any involvement with them. The mortality toll is sometimes not even mentioned. As a result, it should be illegal to hire manual scavengers on a contract basis, or to create rigorous criteria and punish those who break them.

2) Proper training, tools and protection: Although sewers should not be cleaned manually, Safai Karamcharis should be properly trained if necessary, and only trained personnel can provide services for this specific purpose under the supervision and guidance of relevant engineers from. Additional safety measures must be taken because their profession is the most dangerous. Safai Karamcharis must have the necessarysafety devices, such as rubber boots, gloves, masks, etc.

3) Minimum Wage: The 2019 Wage Code was launched by the Coalition Government on August 8, 2019 and is applicable to all of India. After taking into account the differences in the minimum living standards of workers in different regions, the central government devised the national minimum wage. According to the code, when the existing minimum wage is higher than the minimum wage, they will remain unchanged. The state government will set a minimum wage for your area, which cannot be lower than the national minimumwage. The code also stipulates that the minimum wage review/revision interval shall not exceed five years. You must ensure that Safai Karamcharis is paid in accordance with the Guidelines, and all violations must be strictly handled. The authorities should be required to verify that the salary of Safai Karamchari, who was designated as a daily bet through bidding in the annual contract, is not lower than the required salary.

4) Data collection: Only when the severity of the problem is known can action be taken. Therefore, if we are going to implement government policies, it is very important to collect comprehensive data from all over India. NSKFDC conducted a survey between March and September 2018. As of August 20, 2019, 42,303 people were identified as hand pickers. In response, he also stated that only 18 states were selected for the investigation and admitted that they have manual pickers. There are 718 districts in the country, but the survey was conducted in only 170 districts. The real situation can only emerge after a nationwide investigation.

5) Strict Law: Some people think that current law is not strict enough to prevent these evils. In view of the above situation, it is necessary to formulate comprehensive and strict regulations to prohibit unsanitary toilets and contracted personnel from serving as manual pickers, transform manual pickers and their families, and stop dangerous manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks. Use of technology and related matters. Penalties for violators must be written in law and strictly enforce thelaw.

6) Outreach: Node local officials, NGOs, and health authorities must educate the public about the harmful impacts of dry toilets. The legal implications of disparaging and cruel acts such as physical rubbish pickup must be made clear to society.

16. Conclusion

India is one of the nine countries with the worst working conditions for sanitation employees[19]. It's past time for us to recognize the significance of manual search and make genuine efforts to end the inhumane treatment of compassionate handpickers like us. This will necessitate not just the government's on-going efforts, but also the society's on-going efforts India is a welfare state that adheres to the "sabka saath sabka vikaas" ideal. But we can only call ourselves a true welfare state until this disadvantaged and underprivileged segment of our society is lifted and manual rubbish collection is abolished. We may conclude from the foregoing discussion that manual scavenging persists in the country despite existing and freshly adopted regulations against it. The federal government and state governments have both failed to eliminate hand scavenging and enforce the laws. The Supreme Court and several High Courts have ordered and continue to order state governments to properly implement laws prohibiting manual scavenging.


[1] Study report: Inclusion and Exclusion of Dalit in Health and Education (2008-09), Jan Sahas-UNICEF www.dalits.nl/pdf/ExclusionAndInclusionOfDalitCommunity.pdf

[2] Bindeshwar Pathak, Road to Freedom: A Sociological Study on the Abolition of Scavenging in India, 37 (Motilal Banarsidass Publisher, 1999).

[3] Why does India still not have a database of manual scavengers – Pragya Akhilesh (national secretary of Bhim Safai Karmachari Trade Union.)

[4] Rehabilitation Research Initiative

[5] Act no. 22 of 1955 and the Protection of Civil Rights (PCR) Rules, 1977

[6] Act no. 33 of 1989 and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Rules, 1995.

[7] The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015 (Act no. 1 of 2016).

[8] s. 4(j) and s.3 of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

[9] Act No. 46 of 1993.

[10] The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013,https://legislative.gov.in/sites/default/files/A2013-25.pdf

[11] Act no. 64 of 1993

[12] Constitution (Eighty-Ninth Amendment) Act, 2003.

[13] Constitution of India, art. 338 (5) a-h.

[14] Act no. 35of 2014.

[15] See, Safai Karamchari Andolan v. Union of India (2014)11SCC 224.

[16] Under ‘Pay and Use Toilet Scheme’, Central assistance through Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) was available to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) for construction of toilets for footpath and slum dwellers who were unable to construct their own toilets.

[17] 2014 (4) SCALE 165.

[18] 72011 (8) SCC 568

[19] World Bank, ILO, WaterAid, and WHO. 2019. “Health, Safety and Dignity of Sanitation Workers: An Initial Assessment.” World Bank, Washington, DC.