The Indian government has recently come up with new measures to eradicate manual scavenging by August of 2021. Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched ‘Safamitra Suraksha challenge’ across 243 cities. These measures are a part of ‘Swachata Bharat Abhiyan’ under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.
The scheme ‘Safamitra’ was launched on the same day as ‘World Toilet day’. The scheme has been launched to ensure that no life is lost while cleaning sewer or septic tanks. Lower castes especially Dalits are worst affected by such atrocities of manual scavenging.
Hazardous effects of manual scavenging include the fact that it shortens the life span of manual scavengers.
The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has decided to mechanize the sewer system without the help of any contractors. The cleaning machines would be directly provided to the workers to ensure their safety.
The slew of measures which has been taken with regard to this includes the complete mechanization of sewer and septic in 243 cities, to replace the word ‘manhole’ with ‘machine hole’ and establish a 24 hours helpline for accountability. People can directly contact the helpline if they encounter such cases of manual scavenging done by a human.
Although manual scavenging was banned since 1993, it hasn’t implemented this practice on the ground.