Ministry of Rural Development (Government of India) released findings of the Socio-Economic and Caste Census, 2011 of rural India on Friday. The survey done across 17.91 crore rural families has various data sets on households regarding various aspects of their socio-economic status – housing, land-holding/landlessness, educational status, status of women, SC/ST households, incomes, etc.
Highest numbers of manual scavengers were identified in the state of Maharashtra and ranked 1st in the state survey list while Madhya Pradesh state has second highest number of manual scavengers and followed by Karantaka, Tripura, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Daman and Diu and Bihar. The Census data reveals that in states Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Gujarat, Assam and Manipur there are no manual scavengers. However this is far from being true as surveys conducted by Garima Abhiyan and other organizations it has clearly come out that even in these states manual scavenging and dry latrines exists at a large scale. It is a matter of surprise that in states where the practice of manual scavenging is clearly visible the Census reports no or negligible numbers of manual scavengers.
State wise data given below:
|States/ UTs Name||Total Households||Number of Manual Scavanger||% of Manual Scavanger|
|01-JAMMU & KASHMIR||1600842||2883||0.18%|
|07-NCT OF DELHI||1051106||6||0.00%|
|25-DAMAN AND DIU||31795||6277||19.74%|
|26-DADRA & NAGAR HAVELI||45352||142||0.31%|
|35-ANDAMAN & NICOBAR ISLANDS||66643||21||0.03%|
The data has established that the inhuman practice of manual scavenging still continues in India, 180657 rural households surveyed were engaged in manual scavenging.
Data released on Friday shows that 18.06 lakh people across the country are still manual scavengers. Punjab is fifth on the list after Madhya Pradesh (23,093), Uttar Pradesh (17,619), Tripura (17,332) and Karnataka (15,375). No such cases were found in Chandigarh, while Himachal Pradesh and Haryana had 4 and 42 cases each.
This practice continuing in Punjab at such high numbers is alarming given that manual scavenging is an offence under the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act 1993. Those found violating this provision can face heavy penalties and imprisonment of up to one year.
As much as 36.74% of Punjab’s population is Scheduled Caste which is the highest proportion among states.
Hoshiarpur MP Vijay Sampla, who is Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment, said that the numbers could well be more than what the Census has thrown up, especially in urban areas. A rehabilitation programme need to be put in place, he believes.
Sampla told TOI that his ministry will launch a special rehabilitation programme from Hoshiarpur on July 7, where Rs 40,000 would be given to manual scavengers to start a new life with a new profession.
Eminent sociologist and retired professor of Panjab University, Manjeet Singh said data shows that people in rural areas are not serious about ending this practice. He added that the state government is morally and legally bound to implement the provisions of law against this menace. Unfortunately, all parties that have ruled the state have ignored this aspect,” he says.
Secretary of Punjab’s welfare department Seema Jain said that she had not seen the data and would be able to able to comment only after analyzing the figures.
State———–Households—–No. of manual scavengers
Himachal————-12.6 lakh ———-4