Rajya Sabha

February 7, 2018

Manish Gupta speaks on manual scavenging in India

Manish Gupta speaks on manual scavenging in India


Sir, I rise to speak on the issue of the abhorrent practise of manual scavenging. Even after more than 70 years of independence, more than 2.6 million dry latrines still exists in the country. More than seven lakhs of these latrines are manually serviced. The problem is that, these people who are engaged in this particular profession, they are poor and disadvantaged people.

Although legislations have been passed in 1993 and 2013, to look after the interests of these particular scavengers, the action taken by the government whether it is in the state or its in the centre has not been adequate.

The two-pronged strategy of the government to identify manual scavengers as well as to provide them alternative livelihoods is still in a nascent stage. What we need to do at this hour is to find a way to bring in stricter laws or to see that these people are properly identified. There was a proposal to setup a survey to identify these manual scavengers but that has not taken off and as a result this particular practise is still continuing in many parts of the country.

Sir, we have also noticed that there are more than 400 people who have died in the last three-four years. This is a very serious matter. When cases are filed in death cases due to manual scavenging, we find that the FIRs cite negligence and other Acts instead of saying the (particular) Act. Not only negligence, there is violation of the law by those people who employ these manual scavengers; not a single person has been punished in the last 10 years.

If the law is very weak, we need to amend the law and we need to provide for a comprehensive package for these manual scavengers.

Thank you, Sir.