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Opinion

NHRC recommends a special law against manual collection

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The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has made a series of recommendations to the Center to eradicate manual garbage collection, including the adoption of a new law on “dangerous cleaning” and the adoption of strict measures against local authorities who employ people as manual collectors.

It has also asked the Center to provide a loan of Rs 10 lakh to family members of the manual gatherers so that they can start some business.

Subsequently, the National Criminal Records Bureau (NCRB) should monitor sewer deaths in its reports, he said. The NHRC said the lofty claims made by states that they have no manual garbage collectors and zero sanitary latrines are “far from the truth.”

“Therefore, the Commission recommended that the liability should be corrected in the event of incorrect reports from the concerned authorities regarding the number of manual collectors in any region of the country,” the NHRC said in a statement Monday.

Advocating for the broadening of the definition of manual collection to cover other types of hazardous cleaning or the enactment of a new law to do so, the Commission has also recommended that a criminal section be enacted to prevent discrimination and harassment faced by children from manual scavengers and manual scavengers women.

As part of their rehabilitation process, the NHRC recommended that manual garbage collectors link to schemes under which they can immediately start earning like MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) and revisit to see how it goes to their families.

It has also asked that the amount of compensation paid as one-time cash assistance for the rehabilitation of manual garbage collectors be increased from Rs 40,000 to Rs 1 lakh.

In order to start some business activity, you have requested the finance ministry to designate a particular nationalized bank for each state to take responsibility for making loans to manual collectors and their dependents up to Rs10 lakh, as well as providing them individual or group insurance for what Premium must be paid by local authorities.

“The government needs to plan an appropriate investment that facilitates the shift to the use of technology, maintenance of technology, and training of workers to operate the technology,” the NHRC said.

“The officer at the Supervisory or Area Manager level must submit a statement to the respective civic body to the effect that the required safety equipment is being provided before anyone enters the sewer / septic tank,” he said.

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