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The National Advisory Council, headed by Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Saturday expressed its distress over manual scavenging in the country and urged the government to abolish it by 2012.

Here are some details –

# About 1.3 million people are employed in the practice in the country.

# In 1993, parliament passed the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, which declared the employment of scavengers or the construction of dry (non-flush) latrines to be an offence punishable with imprisonment and a fine. But no one has been punished so far.

# NAC says the practice is viewed as an issue of sanitation rather than issue of human dignity, and wants to ensure the final end of this most degrading practice of caste discrimination.

# Asks central government to coordinate with all state, local governments and also central government departments including the Railways, to ensure that this practice is fully abolished.

# Asks for demolition of all dry latrines

# It asks government to conduct a psycho-social and livelihood rehabilitation in modern marketable skills of all manual scavengers and their families.

# Asks for special programme for education, including higher education and computer education of all children of manual scavengers.

# Asks Ministry of Social Justice to formulate 100 percent centrally sponsored scheme to support the rehabilitation initiatives.

# Recommends that the implementation of this law should be monitored at the highest levels of the central and state governments.

# Promises to monitor on a quarterly basis the progress in abolition of manual scavenging.


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