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Scavengers’ Children        

Building toilets attached to urban and rural homes is not only good for the health and honour of the families living in those houses but  also for the manual scavengers, both men and women, who have been tied to their traditional occupation of removing human excreta from other people’s homes. According to a survey done in 2007, there are about 3.5 lakh manual scavengers in different states of India, UP alone having 12,000 of them.  The tragedy is that they are condemned to their traditional occupation despite the ‘abolition’ of manual scavenging in 1993. The eradication of manual scavenging is an integral part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan but the focus unfortunately is on cleanliness of the streets and in government offices and not on the three and half lakh Indians who are hoping to be liberated from their lowly ancestral occupation through the campaign. They too want their children to go to schools and get into respectable occupations. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan should provide for a special fund for education and empowerment of children of manual scavengers. Then only it would be a complete mission.

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