As many as 58,098 were working as manual scavengers in India as of 2018
There have been no deaths due to manual scavenging in India, but 941 workers died while cleaning sewers / septic tanks in the country, Virendra Kumar, Union minister of social justice and empowerment said. He was responding to a question by Communist Party of India’s Binoy Viswam in the Rajya Sabha August 4, 2021.
As many as 58,098 persons worked as manual scavengers in India as of 2018, according to two surveys conducted by local bodies across the country in 2013 and 2018.
The schemes for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers being implemented under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act (PEMSR), 2013, were evaluated in 2017-18 and 2019-20.
All identified and eligible 58,098 manual scavengers have been paid onetime cash assistance of Rs 40,000, which was transferred directly into their bank accounts.
At least 16,057 manual scavengers and their dependents have been given skill development training in various trades.
At least 1,387 manual scavengers, sanitation workers and their dependents have been provided capital subsidy for self-employment projects, including sanitation-related projects, the minister said.
The maximum amount of capital subsidy for self-employment projects under the PEMSR Act has been enhanced from to Rs 5 lakh from Rs 3.25 lakh. Sanitation workers and their dependents have also been made eligible for availing assistance for sanitation-related projects to contribute to mechanisation of sanitation work, including cleaning of sewers and septic tanks.
They will be eligible for capital subsidy and interest subsidy for the projects. With a view to enable procurement of higher value sanitation related vehicles / machines, the maximum project cost for the group has been fixed at Rs 50 lakh.
The ministry has started giving health insurance over up to Rs 5 Lakh to all identified manual scavengers and their family members under Ayushman Bharat Yojan, the minister added.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.