|Sportstar Aces Awards 2023 | VOTE FOR TOP CATEGORIES

Stringent anti-manual scavenging Bill passed

September 08, 2013 03:07 am | Updated November 17, 2021 12:03 am IST - New Delhi

A Bill seeking to prohibit employment of individuals as manual scavengers by prescribing stringent punishment, including imprisonment up to five years, was passed by Parliament on Saturday. It has provisions for rehabilitation of manual scavengers and their family members as well.

The Bill has a wider scope for higher penalties than what was provided under the 1993 Act. Offences under the Bill are cognisable and non-bailable and may be tried summarily. The Bill, which received a strong push from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and seeks to wipe out the “social stigma” by arranging for alternative jobs and offering other provisions to those in such work and their families, got the unanimous approval of the Rajya Sabha on Saturday. It was passed by the Lok Sabha on Friday.

Moving the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2013 in the Upper House, Minister for Social Justice Kumari Selja said the earlier Act did not prove very effective. Under the new law, each occupier of an insanitary latrine is responsible for converting or demolishing it at his own cost. If he fails to do so, the local authority will convert the latrine and recover the cost from him. Each local authority, cantonment board and railway authority are responsible for surveying insanitary latrines within their jurisdiction. “Such latrines, where manual scavenging happens, will have to be demolished; otherwise somebody will be engaged to do it,” Ms. Selja said, adding the government would chip in with financial help. “Despite prohibition of manual scavenging, the practice is still prevalent... This dehumanising practice is inconsistent with the right to live with dignity,” Ms. Selja said. Members from the Left including D. Raja (CPI) moved a number of amendments which were, however, negated.

Top News Today

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.