'Govt identifies 58,098 manual scavengers for rehabilitation'
New Delhi: It seems the efforts of the government to eradicate the manual scavenging practice and rehabilitate manual scavengers have yielded positive results as the government has identified 58,098 manual scavengers for rehabilitation under the Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS) and Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of beneficiaries.
In a written reply to a question asked by BJP MP Jayant Sinha, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale told Lok Sabha that the ministry has conducted two surveys during the years 2013 and 2018 for the identification of manual scavengers.
As per the data provided by the minister, the highest number of manual scavengers identified in Uttar Pradesh as the state has 32,473 manual scavengers, which accounts for 56 per cent of the country's manual scavengers, followed by 6,325 in Maharashtra, 4,988 in Uttarakhand, 3,921 in Assam, 2,927 in Karnataka, 2,673 in Rajasthan and 1,793 in Andhra Pradesh.
Chhattisgarh has the lowest number of manual scavengers as a Congress-ruled state has just three manual scavengers, while Gujarat has 105 manual scavengers. Bihar has 131 manual scavengers, while Jharkhand has 192 scavengers and Punjab has 231. In Jharkhand, manual scavengers have been identified in the districts of Lohardaga (87), Bokaro (73), and Gumla (32).
Spelling out the initiatives taken to identify manual scavengers, Athawale told Lok Sabha that the ministry has launched a mobile app "Swachhata Abhiyan" on December 24, 2020, to capture the data on insanitary latrines still existing and manual scavengers associated with them.
"Any person can upload the data of insanitary latrine and manual scavengers on the mobile app. Thereafter, the data is verified by the concerned district administration. However, not a single insanitary latrine has been confirmed so far after the launch of the mobile app," the minister said.