Mobile app launched to identify, geotag insanitary latrines, manual scavengers

New Delhi: A mobile application to identify and geotag insanitary latrines and manual scavengers was launched by Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot on Thursday.

He urged all citizens to download the app, 'Swachhata Abhiyan', and through it provide the authorities concerned details of any insanitary latrine or manual scavenger they notice.

This would help in rehabilitating all manual scavengers and replace insanitary latrines with sanitary ones, Gehlot said.

"Census 2011 reported that there were over 26 lakh insanitary latrines in the country. Existence of insanitary latrines is the main reason for manual scavenging," the Union Minister said.

Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, mandates survey of insanitary latrines, their demolition and construction of sanitary ones in their place. The government has been implementing Swachh Bharat Mission for the same purpose.

Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, more than nine crore sanitary latrines have been constructed, Gehlot said.

"The country has been declared as open-defecation-free. More than 66,000 manual scavengers have been identified since 2013-14 through surveys by states and also through a national survey in 194 districts. "Over 57,000 manual scavengers who have submitted bank account details have been paid onetime assistance of Rs 40,000 each. The manual scavengers and their dependents are also provided skill training with monthly stipend of Rs 3,000 and subsidy up to Rs 3,25,000 on loans taken by them for self-employment projects," he said.

Gehlot expressed concern over reports from social organisations about prevalance of insanitary latrines and manual scavenging in some isolated parts of the country.

Minister of State at the Ministry of Social Justice Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar said despite construction of a large number of sanitary latrines under the Swachh Bharat Mission, there have been reports from social organisations about existence of insanitary latrines and manual scavengers in some isolated parts of the country.

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