Swachchakar Dignity

A blog to give you first hand reports on the conditions of Swachchkar community, their issues and concerns. A campaign for complete abolition of scavenging practices and brigning forth the growing voices of change with in the community.

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Learning through working. Working at the grassroots made me realise the big difference between those who claim to represent communities as well as the communities themselves. Common man is crushed between the ambitions of various individuals to lead and dominate. The dominant and high numbered communities will always dominate our discourse and the most marginalised are losing in this entire discourse. That is the reason why Mushahar remain at the marginalised and the issue of manual scavenging still not on our top agenda and to eliminate that the community has to decide its own organisations..

I am devoted to freedom of ideas and expression. I personally feel that we in the subcontinent want to dominate and control our discourse and each one of is a ultra nationalist in terms of their caste and community. Nationalism is not just national and political but it is equally in term of religion and caste. I feel each kind of nationalism is a dominant discourse which deny the dissenter a right to speak.

At the end, we all want to listen the truth suitable to us.. we have become expertised in the art of speaking truth of convenience. As long as that remain hall mark of our society and we speak to already converts, this society will remain stagnant, it will always try to control our ideas and choices. We need to oppose any such perception, ideas that want to control our mind and victimise us.

To understand India further, I feel, it is good to do foot walk, ( Padyatras) to various parts of the country. I have so far done it thrice covering nearly 1500-2000 kilometers. It is always interesting to see how people are coping their issues and what is the reason of their exploitation.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Is the government speaking the truth of number of manual scavengers in the country

Can we believe in these figures ? The governments should do something real to eradicate manual scavenging rather than hiding the figures.


MPs contest figures on manual scavengers

Contesting government figures, several MPs on Monday stressed that the number of manual scavengers still left in the country was much higher than what was furnished by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment — 1.17 lakh.

At a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry, they pointed out that this figure did not square with the much larger number of proposals received by the Ministry of Housing and Poverty Alleviation for conversion of dry latrines, according to sources on the panel. It was therefore imperative, the MPs said, that the Social Justice Ministry immediately conduct a survey to check the figures and vigorously work towards ending what the National Human Rights Commission recently termed “one of the worst violations of human rights.”

Monday's meeting comes in the wake of the Centre appointing an expert committee — to be jointly overseen by the Ministries of Social Justice and Labour — to abolish manual scavenging.

The committee — which has a representative each from the Ministries of Social Justice, Urban Development and Railways, and one from the Planning Commission — has been asked to draft a new law and submit its report by September 30.

At the meeting, Social Justice Minister Mukul Wasnik said that while all States and Union Territories had confirmed the rehabilitation of all eligible and willing beneficiaries under the Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS), his Ministry would continue to work with the States to identify any persons who might still need to be rehabilitated.

Under the SRMS, term loans up to Rs.5 lakh and micro financing up to Rs.25,000 are given for rehabilitation in alternative occupations. Mr. Wasnik said information about each identified beneficiary had been placed on the websites of the apex corporations, the State governments, State channelling agencies and the districts concerned to make it open to public scrutiny.

Simultaneously, action was being initiated to undertake a 100 per cent internal audit of the work done under the SRMS by the State governments, and at least 25 per cent external audit through the State Commissions for Safai Karamcharis/SCs and other independent bodies.

Though the government introduced as far back as in 1993 the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act in 1993 — under which no person can be engaged in manual scavenging and construction of dry latrines is prohibited — the Centre missed three deadlines to abolish manual scavenging: December 2007, March 2009 and March 2010. The biggest defaulters are Meghalaya, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, U.P., Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and even Delhi. The MPs who attended the meeting are Rudra Madhab Ray, Shakti Mohan Malik, Arjun Munda, Thangso Baite and P.L. Punia.

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