Manual Scavengers Enumeration Exercise:
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJ&E) is preparing to undertake a nationwide survey to enumerate all Sanitation workers engaged in cleaning of sewers and septic tanks.
- The enumeration exercise is part of the National Action Plan for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem (NAMASTE) Scheme and will be conducted across 500 AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) cities.
- It will merge with and replace the Self-Employment Scheme for the Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS), which was started in 2007.
- Programme Monitoring Units (PMUs) for the 500 AMRUT cities will be set up to carry out the exercise.
- Once this exercise is completed across the 500 cities, it will be expanded nationwide, making it easier to bring government benefits like upskilling and loan and capital subsidies to them.
- Manual Scavenging has led to at least 351 deaths since 2017.
- It is aimed at streamlining the process of rehabilitating sanitation workers.
- It will make it easier to bring government benefits like upskilling and loan and capital subsidies to them.
- To link listed sanitation workers to the Swaachha Udyami Yojana, through which the workers will be able to own sanitation machines themselves and the government will ensure that at the municipality level, the work keeps coming in.
- Swaachha Udyami Yojana has twin objectives of cleanliness and providing livelihood to Safai Karamcharis and liberated Manual Scavengers to achieve the overall goal of “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”.
- Manual scavenging is defined as “the removal of human excrement from public streets and dry latrines, cleaning septic tanks, gutters and sewers”.
- India banned the practice under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (PEMSR).
- The Act bans the use of any individual manually cleaning, carrying, disposing of or otherwise handling in any manner human excreta till its disposal.
- The Act recognizes manual scavenging as a “dehumanizing practice.