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‘Manual Scavenging An Embarrassment For India’: Actor Jaya Bachchan In Rajya Sabha

Actor turned Politician Jaya Bachchan talks about the plight of manual scavengers in India, asks government to address the issue on an urgent basis

Manual Scavenging An Embarrassment For India’: Actor Jaya Bachchan In Rajya Sabha

New Delhi: Actor turned Politician Jaya Bachchan talked about manual scavenging practices in India in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday and asked the Centre to address this issue on an urgent basis. The Samajwadi Party MP said “Continued practice of manual scavenging is an embarrassment for the country. It is a pity that today we are still talking about the deaths due to manual scavenging.”

Ms Bachchan further highlighted the degraded plight of manual scavengers and said,

Why have we not done away with manual scavenging yet and not been able to provide protector gears to them when we talk about progress in other areas. We are talking about going to the moon, Mars and everywhere and yet we cannot provide the basic protective gears to these people.

Also Read: To Eliminate Manual Scavenging, Promote Mechanised Sewer Cleaning, Centre Launches ‘Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge’ In 243 Cities

She also appealed to the Centre to look at this issue on an urgent basis and provide a response. Ms Bachchan added,

You do Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, this is a part of Swachh Bharat.

Jaya Bachchan also asked Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to address the issue of railways employing manual scavengers. Emphasizing the need to provide scavengers dignity and rehabilitation, Ms Bachchan said,

We need to punish the contractors who do not provide them with proper gears.

This is not the first time the Bachchan family has put the issue of manual scavenging in India to the forefront. Last year, even Amitabh Bachchan took to his social media to speak about the issue. Back in October he said, “Manual scavenging is an unconstitutional and illegal act. Yet it exists and that work, suffer in human existence…Will join any campaign that works for their benefit, have pledged.”

Mr Bachchan, previously, during Banega Swasth India campaign telethons had also spoken about the issue at length. In last year’s 12-hour #SwasthyaMantra telethon held on October 2, Mr Bachchan said that manual scavenging was put to an end on papers back in 2013 but on ground the situation has not changed much. Sharing a personal experience, Mr Bachchan said,

During the last NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth India telethon, we had invited some of the guests on the show and I asked them if there is some kind of machinery available which can do the work of manual scavengers instead of persons going inside the drain and I was told yes there are manufacturers in the market that make such type of machinery. I contacted one of the manufacturers from Aurangabad and purchased 50 such machines as a part of my contribution to ending this inhuman thing. 25 of the manual scavengers, I specially called them at my home to hand over these machines, I also got a special plac made and told these manual scavengers that they should use these machines for their own safety and not sell it. Till now, I haven’t heard from these manual scavengers nor I know anything about these machines. There is a lot that is being done by people for manual scavengers, but the reality on-ground is just not changing. We still are reading in papers about the deaths of manual scavengers every now and then. So, what is really happening on the ground?

Also Read: Tiny Blockage Between Life And Death: Sanitation Workers In India Face Grim Working Conditions, Reveals A New Report

The Plight Of Manual Scavenging In India

The act of manual scavenging is banned in India, yet as per the Population Census 2011, manual scavenging is the primary occupation of over 1.8 lakh Dalit families. According to the data collected by Safai Karamchari Andolan (SKA), 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.

To stop the practice of manual scavenging in India, the Central and the State governments have been taking steps that includes 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: WaterAid India’s Photo Exhibition Dives Into The Hidden World Of Sanitation Workers

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.

World

22,95,44,435Cases
19,20,52,504Active
3,27,83,741Recovered
47,08,190Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,95,44,435 and 47,08,190 have died; 19,20,52,504 are active cases and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 3:49 am.

India

3,35,31,498 26,964Cases
3,01,9897,586Active
3,27,83,741 34,167Recovered
4,45,768 383Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,31,498 confirmed cases including 4,45,768 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,01,989 and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,27,629 3,131

44,269 960

63,44,744 4,021

1,38,616 70

Kerala

45,39,926 15,768

1,61,765 5,813

43,54,264 21,367

23,897 214

Karnataka

29,69,361 818

13,769 617

29,17,944 1,414

37,648 21

Tamil Nadu

26,48,688 1,647

16,993 9

25,96,316 1,619

35,379 19

Andhra Pradesh

20,40,708 1,179

13,905 483

20,12,714 1,651

14,089 11

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,693 13

194 0

16,86,612 13

22,887

West Bengal

15,62,710 537

7,741 69

15,36,291 592

18,678 14

Delhi

14,38,556 39

400 21

14,13,071 18

25,085

Odisha

10,21,216 462

4,844 103

10,08,226 560

8,146 5

Chhattisgarh

10,05,120 26

297 0

9,91,260 26

13,563

Rajasthan

9,54,275 12

99 8

9,45,222 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,751 14

133 0

8,15,536 14

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,410 8

90 6

7,81,803 14

10,517

Haryana

7,70,754 8

328 12

7,60,618 20

9,808

Bihar

7,25,907 6

60 9

7,16,188 15

9,659

Telangana

6,63,906 244

4,938 53

6,55,061 296

3,907 1

Punjab

6,01,359 36

304 3

5,84,554 37

16,501 2

Assam

5,98,864 441

5,081 97

5,87,970 338

5,813 6

Jharkhand

3,48,139 14

65 10

3,42,941 4

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,405 12

249 18

3,35,765 29

7,391 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,214 145

1,450 11

3,22,345 154

4,419 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,403 263

1,715 99

2,12,033 162

3,655 2

Goa

1,75,690 107

886 76

1,71,507 29

3,297 2

Puducherry

1,25,618 101

922 55

1,22,864 46

1,832

Manipur

1,18,870 197

2,174 9

1,14,861 203

1,835 3

Tripura

83,956 51

353 7

82,794 44

809

Mizoram

82,815 1,355

15,363 223

67,184 1,127

268 5

Meghalaya

79,817 150

1,878 18

76,558 167

1,381 1

Chandigarh

65,195 7

44 3

64,333 4

818

Arunachal Pradesh

54,190 64

413 3

53,504 60

273 1

Sikkim

31,014 43

627 27

30,007 70

380

Nagaland

30,959 52

470 3

29,832 46

657 3

Ladakh

20,743 6

144 6

20,392

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

0 0

10,666

4

Lakshadweep

10,360 1

9 1

10,300

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,607 7

17 4

7,461 3

129

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