Q1: What is manual scavenging?
A1: Manual scavenging involves the manual cleaning, carrying, and disposal of human excreta from dry latrines or open drains. It is a hazardous and inhumane practice often carried out by marginalized communities.
Q2: What is the current status of manual scavenging in India?
A2: Despite efforts, there are districts in several states and union territories where manual scavenging has not been eradicated, as reported in the Rajya Sabha.
Q3: Which states have the highest number of districts yet to declare themselves free of manual scavenging?
A3: Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and Jharkhand have the highest number of districts yet to declare themselves free of manual scavenging.
Q4: Have there been deaths due to manual scavenging in recent years?
A4: According to the Union government, no deaths due to manual scavenging have been reported in the past five years. However, there have been deaths related to hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks, a dangerous practice that persists.
Q5: How many districts have declared themselves free of manual scavenging?
A5: Around 530 districts in India have reported themselves to be free of manual scavenging.
Q6: What steps is the government taking to address manual scavenging and hazardous cleaning of sewers?
A6: The government has launched the NA-MASTE scheme to address hazardous cleaning practices. It aims to prevent hazardous cleaning and hold employers accountable for ensuring safe and mechanized cleaning methods.
Q7: How is the government monitoring the situation and addressing complaints related to manual scavenging?
A7: The government introduced the Swachata mobile app for submitting complaints related to manual scavenging. However, none of the received complaints have been substantiated so far.
Q8: What measures are being taken to eliminate manual scavenging in remaining districts?
A8: The Ministry of Social Justice is encouraging districts to declare themselves free of manual scavenging. Financial incentives and support are being provided to companies, start-ups, and MSMEs focused on safe cleaning practices. The government also emphasizes continuous learning opportunities for workers to adapt to changing job requirements.