Govt to bring new law to stop manual scavenging | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Govt to bring new law to stop manual scavenging

Prodded by the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC), the UPA government is set to bring a new, stricter law in the monsoon session of Parliament to eradicate manual scavenging.

delhi Updated: Apr 05, 2012 02:09 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji

Prodded by the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC), the UPA government is set to bring a new, stricter law in the monsoon session of Parliament to eradicate manual scavenging.

The Centre's move comes after the latest census figures shows that in at least 0.3% of India's 247 million households- 7.4 lakh households-manual scavengers are still engaged.

"Apart from expanding the definition of manual scavenging, the new law will enable survey, rehabilitation programmes, fix responsibility on officials and provide stronger penal provisions," Union minister of social justice and empowerment Mukul Wasnik told HT.

The draft has been circulated to the state government for their feedbacks, Wasnik added.

Even as the government initially tried to eradicate the practice by March 2010, the 2011 census figures reveal that human excreta is manually cleaned in at least 7,94,390 dry toilets in the country.

Among the states, J&K has the highest rate (10.7%) of manual scavenging in households. But what worries the government more is that bigger states such as Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have high rate of the shameful practice. States such as Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have been able to abolish the manual scavenging completely.

"A couple of years ago, I used take monthly report on rehabilitation and status of manual scavengers. Then I started keeping daily records. Now, as the census figures provide important data, we will have to take a more effective monitoring system," Wasnik said.

Although the Centre brought the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act in 1993, NAC wrote a letter to the Prime Minister last year asking for a new law.