Saturday, 20 Jul, 2024
IndiaTracker.in
Society 31-Oct, 2023

Tragedy of Manual Scavenging: A Grim Reality in India

By: Manya Upreti

Tragedy of Manual Scavenging: A Grim Reality in India

The deaths brought on by manual scavenging continue to be a striking reminder of the ingrained injustices and systemic problems that plague the country despite legislative changes and growing awareness.

In December 2022, the Social Justice Ministry reported that 48 individuals had perished in 2022 because of dangerous sewer cleaning. In 2021, 49 people were involved; in 2020 - 19, and in 2019 - 117.

The disturbing practice of manual scavenging continues to throw a gloomy shadow over India in an age distinguished by technological achievements and social progress, taking lives and destroying families. The deaths brought on by manual scavenging continue to be a striking reminder of the ingrained injustices and systemic problems that plague the country despite legislative changes and growing awareness.

The Central Monitoring Committee (CMC) of the Social Justice Ministry concluded that all unsanitary latrines had been converted into sanitary ones under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and that the issue of manual scavenging was solved in its eighth meeting on July 5, 2023.

The government has insisted for the last few years that manual scavenging is no longer practiced in the nation and has drawn a contrast between such incidents and fatalities from the dangerous cleaning of septic tanks and sewers. In December 2022, the Social Justice Ministry reported that 48 individuals had perished in 2022 because of dangerous sewer cleaning. In 2021, 49 people were involved; in 2020 - 19, and in 2019 - 117.

Despite efforts to ban manual scavenging, deaths have been reported around the nation, according to reports from 2023. These occurrences make it clear that the strategy for this activity requires a complete revamp immediately. Manual scavenging is prohibited by laws and regulations, although their effective application is still difficult. Many victims are unaware of their rights and are subjected to strong social pressure, which keeps them from looking for alternate sources of income.

Many people in India still must deal with the demeaning practice of manually cleaning human waste out of sewers and open defecation areas. The pervasive socioeconomic stratification that exists in India is one of the fundamental causes of manual scavenging. The practice, which has historically been connected to lower caste populations, is a striking illustration of the ongoing caste-based prejudice in the country. Manual scavengers frequently find themselves in a cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and lack of prospects, making it challenging for them to escape this exploitative behavior, despite legal bans. The risks are staggering exposure to toxic gases, dangerous viruses, and unsanitary environments cause a wide range of health problems that frequently result in terrible deaths.

Insufficient sanitary infrastructure furthers the practice. Proper sanitary facilities are still a far-off ideal in many sections of the nation, especially in rural areas. Manual scavengers are forced to undertake their dangerous tasks because there are no bathrooms or sewage systems available, which feeds a cycle of injustice and oppression.

The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, is one of the laws the government has passed to end the practice. This law was intended to both outlaw the practice and offer persons who engaged in manual scavenging rehabilitation and alternate means of support. These laws have been put into practice, but implementation has frequently fallen short, depriving the impacted communities of the promised assistance. The need to change societal views is one of the biggest obstacles to solving this problem. The affected groups become even more isolated because of the stigma attached to manual scavenging, making it challenging for them to look for better alternatives. There must be a determined effort to confront deeply rooted prejudices and stereotypes if this issue is to be solved effectively.

NGOs, activists, and community-based organizations have been working nonstop to spread the word about the inhumanity of manual scavenging and to help those who are impacted by it. These initiatives have raised some awareness of the problem, but much more work still needs to be done. Although difficult, eliminating manual scavenging is not insurmountable. It necessitates a multifaceted strategy that includes political action, societal transformation, and community empowerment. Investment in sanitation infrastructure is essential to offering affected people respectable choices. In addition, a concerted effort needs to be made to educate and sensitize society about the rights and dignity of every person, regardless of caste or line of work.

It is crucial that the country considers the lives lost to manual scavenging as the year progresses and recognizes the urgency of the situation. The deaths in 2023 should function as a catalyst for stakeholders from all fields, including the public sector, civil society, and individuals, to band together and oppose this heinous practice.

Share:

Latest From This Section

Muslims view Supreme Court alimony provision as an ‘interference’ in personal laws, but largely believe it’s a legitimate right: Survey

Muslims view Supreme Court alimony provision as an ‘interference’ in personal laws, but largely believe it’s a legitimate right: Survey

Muslims divided over Supreme Court’s verdict on alimony, more women than men opposing it

Muslims divided over Supreme Court’s verdict on alimony, more women than men opposing it

Opposition voters put less faith in Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita - Survey

Opposition voters put less faith in Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita - Survey

New Criminal Laws: More than half are unaware of the changes but still believe justice will be more effective

New Criminal Laws: More than half are unaware of the changes but still believe justice will be more effective

Barely 13% Indians own an Air Conditioner, 40% face power cut for least 3 hours daily: Survey

Barely 13% Indians own an Air Conditioner, 40% face power cut for least 3 hours daily: Survey

Pew Research Reveals Deep-Seated Concerns: Asian American Adults Speak Out Against Discrimination

Pew Research Reveals Deep-Seated Concerns: Asian American Adults Speak Out Against Discrimination

Video

Sutanu Guru talks with Yashwant Deshmukh about two stalwart pioneers of the TV Industry in India

Is India a data-deficient country? Veteran journalist Anil Padmanabhan answers it

Sutanu Guru in conversation with PhD scholar Tulip Suman

India Tracker launch: Yashwant Deshmukh in conversation with Sanjay Kumar of CSDS

Audio

Karnataka Government's U Turn On 100% Job Reservation Bill for Kannadigas. What Is This Bill All About?

Yet Another Terror Attack In Jammu: What is behind the Militant Attacks in the Valley?

"Extravagant Ambani Wedding" a Boon to Local Businesses and to Indian Market

Supreme Court Again Upholds Rights Of Muslim Women. Will Self Styled Maulana's Accept I An Interaction With SC Lawyer Subuhi Khan