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Manual Scavenging

43 People Have Died Due To Manual Scavenging This Year, Says Safai Karmachari Andolan’s Bezwada Wilson On Kaun Banega Crorepati

Amitabh Bachchan, Campaign Ambassador of NDTV-Dettol’s Banega Swasth India Campaign, welcomed Ramon Magsaysay awardee Bezwada Wilson on Kaun Banega Crorepati 12’s Karamveer special episode to raise awareness about the inhuman practice of manual scavenging

43 People Have Died Due To Manual Scavenging This Year, Says Safai Karmachari Andolan’s Bezwada Wilson On Kaun Banega Crorepati
  • Manual Scavenging was made illegal in India in 1993
  • Over 200 people die every year because of Manual Scavenging
  • Safai Karamchari Andolan works towards rehabilitating manual scavengers

New Delhi: With an aim to raise awareness about manual scavenging which was banned by the government in 1993 but is still widely practised across the country, Amitabh Bachchan invited Ramon Magsaysay awardee, Bezwada Wilson, on Kaun Banega Crorepati 12’s Karamveer special episode that was aired on October 30. Because of this unlawful, unconstitutional and inhuman practice, at least 200 people die every year, said Mr. Wilson who was born in the family of manual scavengers and made it his life’s mission to eradicate the evil practice from the country. He has been fighting against manual scavenging for over 35 years.

Also Read: “Manual Scavenging Is An Unconstitutional And Illegal Act,” Says Amitabh Bachchan As He Pledges To Join ‘Any Campaign’ That Works For Welfare Of Manual Scavengers

54-year-old Mr. Wilson, who is convenor of Safai Karamchari Andolan (SKA), a movement that was started by him along with other activists in the early 1990s focusing on liberating manual scavengers and helping them move on to other professions, said on KBC,

Picking up dirt even for one day is very tough. Every year around 200 people die due to the illness while scavenging. Even children in my school used to say to me that you are a ‘bhangi’ and they don’t even know what the meaning of ‘bhangi’ is. No human being is happy to accept that they are untouchable. I have not chosen to be a ‘bhangi’ but ‘you’ (people of this nation) have made me a scavenger. Till date, I am not ready to accept that I am untouchable. I am just a citizen of this nation like everyone else, a human being.

Mr. Bachchan, who is also the Campaign Ambassador of NDTV-Dettol’s Banega Swasth India Campaign, urged the viewers to act towards halting manual scavenging forever. He asked Mr. Wilson why people involved in manual scavenging continue it, to which he said,

The biggest reason for people to continue working as manual scavengers is ‘caste’. They will not get any other employment. If we tell them that we belong to a lower caste, they would say that we won’t be getting that work. They send them away saying that they would call them if they want to get their manholes cleaned. Our society has made it like this. They have no other place to work. Even if they secure education and wish to do something else, they won’t be given an opportunity.

Watch: We As Indian Citizens Must Take Actions To Stop Manual Scavenging: Bezwada Wilson

Mr. Bachchan asserted that the people involved in manual scavenging should be supported so that they can live a better life. While talking about the initiative Banega Swasth India, Mr. Bachchan said,

I am a part of ‘Swasth Bharat’ initiative. A lot of people participate. So I asked them if we can have an alternate solution to this. Then they told me about a factory in Aurangabad that manufactures a machine for cleaning the sewage. I immediately asked them where I can buy those machines. I purchased 50 machines and donated to the head of the organisation and told him to employ those machines. About a year later, I called to see how things were. I was told that they have sold the machines. They didn’t use those.

Mr. Wilson, in response, highlighted that at the individual level, some efforts may get failed but on a larger level, there are many sanitation workers who are waiting for machines. He added that technological development and support from the government and the society can help transform the state of the sanitation workers in the country.
Actor Anup Soni who joined Mr. Wilson as another guest on the ‘Hot Seat’, said on social media,

Mr. Bezwada Wilson has been fighting to eradicate the practice of manual scavenging from the society. It was an honour to be on Hot Seat with him in front of Mr. Amitabh Bachchan.

Also Read: We Need A Dignified Name For Manual Scavengers, Says Amitabh Bachchan

Director Anubhav Sinha also took to his Twitter handle to share a picture of Wilson along with Anup Soni and Amitabh Bachchan on Friday. He wrote,

Mr Bezwada Wilson has worked against Manual Scavenging for decades. So good to see @SrBachchan honoring a man like that on KBC. There is still a lot of muck to be cleaned from people’s minds. Yo @soniiannup I look forward to the episode!!!

The Evil Of Manual Scavenging In India

According to the Population Census 2011, manual scavenging, even after being banned, is the primary occupation of over 1.8 lakh Dalit families. As per the data collated by Safai Karamchari Andolan, about 1,760 people have died because of manual scavenging in the past 20 years. SKA’s estimates show that over 7.7 lakh workers have been sent into sewers since 1993 with complete knowledge and awareness of the dire consequences. There are nearly 26 lakh dry latrines across the country where humans are employed for cleaning excreta to earn their bread and butter.

The Central and the State governments have been taking steps to tackle the menace of manual scavenging including amending the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 and enforcing a new Act, Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. The act provides for identification of the manual scavengers and rehabilitation them by providing skill training to them and enabling them to find alternative means of livelihood.

Also Read: Delhi Strives To Rehabilitate Manual Scavengers; Officials Say Removing Social Stigma Critical

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene


Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,06,78,961 and 48,98,653 have died; 20,23,40,977 are active cases and 3,34,39,331 have recovered as on October 18, 2021 at 4:17 am.


3,40,81,315 13,596Cases
3,34,39,331 19,582Recovered
4,52,290 166Deaths
In India, there are 3,40,81,315 confirmed cases including 4,52,290 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,89,694 and 3,34,39,331 have recovered as on October 18, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

65,91,697 1,715

32,230 994

64,19,678 2,680

1,39,789 29


48,54,321 7,555

88,186 3,292

47,39,270 10,773

26,865 74


29,83,459 326

9,479 58

29,36,039 380

37,941 4

Tamil Nadu

26,87,092 1,218

14,814 208

26,36,379 1,411

35,899 15

Andhra Pradesh

20,60,472 432

6,034 159

20,40,131 586

14,307 5

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,028 9

119 10

16,87,011 19


West Bengal

15,80,530 624

7,421 24

15,54,132 634

18,977 14


14,39,390 32

320 6

14,13,981 38



10,35,077 443

4,542 68

10,22,250 508

8,285 3


10,05,654 16

183 2

9,91,901 14



9,54,390 2

42 2

9,45,394 4



8,26,290 10

207 6

8,15,997 16


Madhya Pradesh

7,92,684 5

84 12

7,82,077 17



7,71,076 15

123 9

7,60,904 6



7,26,026 5

48 4

7,16,317 1



6,68,955 122

3,924 55

6,61,093 176

3,938 1


6,06,468 205

3,436 46

5,97,082 245

5,950 6


6,02,035 27

227 8

5,85,264 16

16,544 3


3,48,430 7

122 1

3,43,173 8



3,43,756 9

178 1

3,36,181 8


Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,062 95

843 12

3,25,793 107


Himachal Pradesh

2,21,437 131

1,303 5

2,16,414 125

3,720 1


1,77,522 60

604 6

1,73,572 62

3,346 4


1,27,396 52

585 13

1,24,961 64

1,850 1


1,22,737 104

1,422 0

1,19,418 102

1,897 2


1,12,848 249

11,633 1,143

1,00,829 1,389

386 3


84,321 16

104 4

83,401 12



82,953 55

845 32

80,673 86

1,435 1


65,302 3

25 3

64,457 6


Arunachal Pradesh

54,987 7

140 30

54,567 37



31,749 4

174 8

31,184 12



31,611 40

248 12

30,689 28



20,878 2

36 10

20,634 12


Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,676 1

4 1





0 0



Andaman And Nicobar Islands


9 0



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