Topic – Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes
5) Despite an Act designed specifically for the same purpose, the death of manual scavengers has continued as per data released by NCSK. Examine. (250 words)
Why this question
The article examines the reasons behind the plight of manual scavengers and the reasons behind the same. Despite, an Act designed specifically to ban employment of people as manual scavengers, their continued deaths reflects our apathy and indifference. The question expects us to reflect on these issues, for it is important from GS2 perspective.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to bring out the provisions of the Act meant to safeguard the interests of manual scavengers, highlight their status quo and then explain why their status continues to see no improvement. Finally, we have to discuss the way forward.
Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic, get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Mention about the spate of deaths of manual scavengers in recent past. Explain about the purpose of the the employment of manual scavengers and Construction of dry latrines (prohibition) Act, 2013.
- Explain the provisions of the Act meant to safeguard the interest of manual scavengers –
- The new Act looks at manual scavenging from the point of view of restoring human dignity and human rights and talks about rehabilitation
- Section 7 of the Act which prohibits employment of manual scavengers and prescribes punishment for the same
- The provisions related to NCSK etc
- Discuss the status quo – although manual scavenging is illegal, Maharashtra employs 35% of 180,657 Indian families whose livelihood depends on unblocking excreta-packed sewers in those dank lanes, railways is also a huge employer. Moreover, more than 300 people died due to manual scavenging in 2017 alone. Reflects issues with the act and in its implementation
- Discuss the reasons why the Act is failing – does not spell out the responsibilities and accountability of the local authorities that will supervise rehabilitation, the law is not being enforced, and there is no fear of penalties, Mechanised cleaning of septic tanks is the prescribed norm. But in spite of a well-funded programme such as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in operation, little attention is devoted to this aspect of sanitation. The requirements of worker safety and provision of safety gear for rare instances when human intervention is unavoidable are often ignored etc
Conclusion – Give your view on the continued violation of the rights of manual scavengers and discuss the way forward.