Working towards making India a manual scavenging-free nation

Following the passage of the ‘Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2013’ in Parliament last week, leading NGO Sulabh International on Monday appointed seven former women scavengers as ‘ombudsmen’. They will lead a campaign to make India a manual scavenging-free nation.

Terming it a “symbolic step” towards social equality, Sulabh Founder Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak said the organisation would launch a movement to sensitise people about the new Bill that prohibits employment of individuals as manual scavengers by prescribing stringent punishment, including imprisonment up to five years, to those employing such people.

“Passing the strong law was the most important step to end this inhuman practice. Another important point is that the Bill calls for rehabilitation of manual scavengers and their family members. Sulabh will intensify its efforts to ensure that this social evil is completely eradicated from India…We will also provide vocational training to all such people so that they could respectfully earn their livelihood,” Dr. Pathak added.

Dr. Pathak administered oath to the seven women who will now discharge the responsibility of top functionaries of the organisation, which has more than 70,000 volunteers across the country. The NGO has also decided to share its cheap, eco-friendly toilet technology so that more people have proper toilet facilities in their homes.