The Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC) on Saturday urged the Centre to coordinate with all State, local and Central government departments to ensure that the pernicious practice of manual scavenging is fully abolished by the end of the 11th Plan period at the latest.

This, it said, would require a new survey in every State and UT, with wide public involvement, of the remaining dry latrines and manual scavengers, demolition of all dry latrines, psycho-social and livelihood rehabilitation of the modern marketable skills of all manual scavengers and their families, and special programmes for higher education and computer education of all children of manual scavengers.

It has asked the Ministry of Social Justice to formulate fully Centre-sponsored schemes to support the rehabilitation initiatives. The law also needs to be amended, the NAC said, to ensure sharper definitions of manual scavenging, and greater accountability of public officials who employ or fail to prevent manual scavenging.

The NAC has recommended that the implementation of this law be monitored at the highest levels of the Central and State governments. It will itself monitor, on a quarterly basis, progress in the abolition of manual scavenging, in order to ensure the end of this degrading example of caste discrimination.

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