Officials said the National Safai Karamcharis Finance & Development Corporation (NSKFDC) will soon extend loans directly to municipalities at four per cent interest for a period of 15 years so that they can invest in machines.
This data, although startling, is, by NCSK’S own admission, a gross underestimate since it includes figures for only eight states — Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Delhi, Punjab, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu — out of 36 states and Union Territories.
Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot’s comments came against the backdrop of the deaths of several people involved in cleaning of sewers and septic tanks in many states.
The court had ordered the state to submit a detailed report about the existence of manual scavenging and the employment of manual scavengers by various municipalities and municipal corporations in the state in violation of the Act that prohibits the practice.
Contractors offer a few extra bucks, desperate labourers get into dark holes to clean sewage and suffocate to death. The instances brutally repeats as law violators function with impunity. Families struggle to come to terms with the loss as govt compensation offers some relief.
The 2013 Act did not provide sufficient provisions to prohibit employment as manual scavengers or to rehabilitate those who have been involved in this work, primarily a caste-based occupation, involving the Valmiki community for generations.