We intend to introduce the bill in the coming Monsoon Session : Mukul Wasnik

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INVC,,

Delhi,,

The Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment, Shri Mukul Wasnik inaugurated the daylong meeting on “Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers’ with Districts Collectors/Deputy commissioners and Commissioners/CEOs of Municipalities of 70 district where prevalence of the insanitary latrines is high and representatives of 9 States/UTs, and Principal Secretaries/Secretaries of the States/UTs of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Odisha, Haryana, Assam, J&K, Manipur, West Bengal and NCT of Delhi here.

Secretary, Drinking Water Sanitation, Secretary, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Secretary, Social Justice & Empowerment and Principle Secretaries and Secretaries of the concerned States also attended the meeting.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Wasnik said that the eradication of manual scavenging and rehabilitation of manual scavengers in alternative dignified occupations is a matter of national priority.

The Minister expressed his concern that despite consistent efforts, manual scavenging still persists in various parts of the country. He said that the State Governments should identify such persons and process their proposals for extending financial assistance under Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS) and all the district authorities through their respective State Govt should send the proposals to the Central Govt so that the required funds would be immediately sanctioned.

The Minister emphasized that this meeting has been called for to evolve a methodology for preparation of District level action plans for time bound elimination of insanitary latrines and rehabilitation of manual scavengers. He further stated that various steps are being taken for eradication of manual scavenging, we must start certain activities immediately instead of waiting for the finalisation of the new intervention.

He underlined that The Employment of Manual Scavenging and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 prohibit employment of manual scavenging, but its implementation is very weak. The NAC had recommended that a new law will be enacted as the issue of manual scavenging pertains to human dignity and not sanitation. Keeping in view of the suggestions and to rectify the historical wrong done, a new draft bill is proposed and we intend to introduce the bill in the coming Monsoon Session, the Minister said. He said that the new bill will be have a wider definition of manual scavenging and there would be a provision of prohibition of hazardous manual cleaning of sewer and septic tanks, the offences would be cognizable and non-bailable etc.

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