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National Commission For Safai Karamcharis
The statutory body, called National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, was setup by the Central Government with the main aim to voice their concerns and to make a concrete plan for them to improve their conditions on all levels. It was exclusively meant to improve the condition of karamcharis for their overall improvement in all respects and to ensure that they get their due rights without any discrimination.
About National Commission for Safai Karamcharis
National Commission for Safai Karamcharis was setup by the Central Government as an important statutory body in India under the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993 for the important purpose to address rights of employees in the whole country. Its establishment on August 12, 1994 was for the 3 year period. The Commission has worked extensively to promote and safeguard all types of interests and rights which safai karamcharis would have deserved.
Clear cut mandate was given to the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis to work on the specific grounds and ensure that there is no violation of rights of such employees and people of the lower strata. To meet this primary objective this Commission was mandated to study thoroughly and then evaluate the factors for the better monitoring and implementation of multiple schemes exclusively designed and developed for the Safai Karamcharis.
The mandate for the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis was that it should work as an autonomous body whose key role would be to advise the government with the reports and recommendations for proper assessment of the grievances and it must offer a means to address them to the best extent.
After the establishment of National Commission for Safai Karamcharis it took many key initiatives and submitted its report to the government accordingly. Some of the key aspects and recommendations came in the form of advices to maintain the spectacular progress of country by helping the deprived sections including the safai karamcharis to get their own share of development to lead respectable lifestyle. Some of the important steps which this Commission suggested were:-
- Addressing the atrocities and discriminations
- Suppressing all types of insufferable and inhuman practices
- Proper plan and procedures to improve the condition of Scheduled Castes especially safai karamcharis and manual scavengers for better living standard
Implementation of Recommendations
Once the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis submitted report and advised several recommendations for betterment of such karamcharis which were mainly represented by the Scheduled Castes population and the people of similar groups a ray of hope arose for nearly 13.82 crore Scheduled Caste population. As they comprised of approximately 16.5% of total Indian population, they are the manual scavengers with their strength of nearly 6.76 lakhs for which several important decisions and recommendations were advised.
Recommendations were mainly to improve their socio-economic condition and to take measures which could take them out of the still far below condition in society. It suggested that scavengers must be facilitated the appropriate machineries to make their tasks easy so that they don’t work through handling cleaning processes manually. Key advices included:-
- Suggested an initiative to abolish the manual scavenging system
- New steps to improve living and working conditions of manual scavengers for the large chunk of safai karamcharis working in the country
- Strict regulation to suppress practice of involving these karamcharis for the purpose of cleaning dry latrines through manual scavengers
The Central Government passed a legislation in the year 1993 once the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis advised the recommendations to follow rule of law for their powers bound under this legal bounding. It clearly indicated that none of the Safai karamcharis or manual scavengers should be forcefully employed for the cleaning of dry latrines. The Construction of Dry Latrines Prohibition Act, 1993 was passed with the rules that in case of offence one year imprisonment or a fine up to Rs.2000/- could be imposed if there is violation of rules.
According to the latest statistics post the implementation of recommendations the number of dry latrines were calculated at nearly 54 lakhs in the localities dominated as urban areas while the rural regions had 24 lakh latrines. It left big impact and proved a change, although it couldn’t be considered satisfactory. It proved a way out for big number of manual scavenging and safai karakcharis whose issues were taken into account for a better future. Implementation of reports submitted by the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis were specific and twofold so they also included the following:-
- Integrated Low Cost Sanitation Scheme (ILCS)
- National Scheme for Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers (NSLRS)
Both schemes mentioned above proved extremely powerful for overall growth of this community and brought revolution in one form or the other. It was an initiative to take genuine and timely steps to convert most of the existing dry latrines into low cost water borne latrines so were steps taken to construct entirely new sanitary latrines over the period. Such steps were important to give voice to all manual scavengers from loathsome practice of carrying night soil by manual procedure they were following earlier.
These steps proved fruitful for manual scavengers and safai karamcharis whose rehabilitation was mandatory for overall growth. They would lead dignified lifestyle in this occupation and for that such recommndations by National Commission for Safai Karamcharis proved helpful to give them new hope. Important initiatives which were brought into focus were thorough training and financial assistance to them all and granting different types of subsidies besides assistance through bank loans to improve living standards.