Data | Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu recorded most sewer-cleaning related deaths in last six years

Uttar Pradesh, which had the largest share of manual scavengers, also reported the highest number of deaths of such workers

August 28, 2022 05:52 pm | Updated 05:55 pm IST

Despite a ban on manual scavenging, the practice of manual scavenging  remains rampant in India

Despite a ban on manual scavenging, the practice of manual scavenging remains rampant in India | Photo Credit: KUMAR SS

An answer in the Lok Sabha, quoting surveys conducted by the Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry in 2013 and 2018, mentioned that there are over 58,000 people engaged in manual scavenging in India. Activists claim that this number remains an underestimate and that the practice is prevalent despite a 2013 law prohibiting such employment. The latest data show that 347 workers died while or because of cleaning sewers and septic tanks between 2017 and 2022. Uttar Pradesh, which had the largest share of manual scavengers, also reported the highest number of deaths. Of the total number of workers identified, the majority of them were Dalits. While a rehabilitation scheme has provided the workers with a one-time compensation, the capital subsidy has had few takers

Sewer deaths

The map depicts the State-wise number of deaths of manual scavengers reported between 2017 and 2022. Of the 347 workers who died while or because of cleaning sewers and septic tanks in the 2017-2022 period (ending in July this year), Uttar Pradesh accounted for the highest number (51)

Hover over the charts to find the exact figures

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Identified workers

More than 55% of the 58,098 manual scavengers identified were from Uttar Pradesh, according to a Lok Sabha reply in April 2022. The chart shows the number of manual scavengers identified in the 17 States where data were available

Caste-wise split of workers

Of the 58,098 manual scavengers identified, more than 40,000 workers belong to the Scheduled Castes, while fewer than 1,000 belong to the Scheduled Tribes and OBCs combined. The chart shows the caste-wise break up of the number of manual scavengers

Rehabilitation of workers

The Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS) is expected to provide one-time cash assistance of ₹40,000, skill development training, and capital subsidy for self-employment projects for workers. The chart depicts the coverage of the scheme. The government succeeded in providing cash assistance to the workers, especially in the last three years of the period considered. But the proportion of workers who received a capital subsidy of ₹5 lakh as loans under the scheme was significantly low during this period

Source: Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha

Also read: The ugly truths of manual scavenging

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