Over 20,500 manual scavengers identified in India, reveals govt. survey

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NEW DELHI: The latest survey conducted by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has revealed that manual scavenging is prevalent in many states. Over 20,500 people have so far been identified as involved in manual scavenging in India, with Uttar Pradesh accounting for nearly 6,000 of them. According to the officials, the recent survey, which started in February and is ongoing, will cover 170 districts across 18 states.

Some states like Gujarat, Kerala, and Maharashtra had denied the existence of persons engaged in manual scavenging in their territories. However, the latest ongoing survey has revealed that manual scavenging was prevalent even in these states.

The findings of the ongoing survey were discussed at a ‘Pan-India Workshop on Prevention of Risky Cleaning of Sewers and Septic Tanks’ inaugurated by Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment as part of year-long commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi from October 2, 2018, to October 2, 2019.
The ministry has planned various activities in this regard, through the NSKFDC (National Safai Karmacharis Finance and Development Corporation) during this period, which includes the survey of manual scavengers and their rehabilitation, organising workshops and skill upgradation of sanitation workers and waste pickers through conducting 5 days training programmes.
The workshops will be organised all over the country to sensitize the municipal officers, sanitation inspectors, senior sanitation workers, and contractors.

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