As per the latest data stated by the Ministry of Social justice and Empowerment that 42,594 out of 52,098 manual scavengers are from scheduled castes(SC), 421 to the Scheduled Tribes(ST), and 431 to Other Backward Classes(OBCs).
Manual scavenging has been banned in India since 2013 after the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, under which anyone employing of cleaning of sewers and septic tanks by any person or agency is punishable with imprisonment of up to five years or a fine up of to ₹5 lakh or both. The law was introduced by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment aiming to curb death due to the cleaning of hazardous sewage lines and septic tanks.
Replying to a question by BJP MP Vikas Mahatme, Minister of Social justice under Ramdas Athawale told Parliament that a total of 58,098 people involved in manual scavenging were identified in surveys, caste-related data was only available for 43,797 of them, among which 97.25% are from SC, reported The News Minute.
When questioned if his Ministry is planning to provide educational aid for the rehabilitation of people involved in manual scavenging, he replied there are no such plans proposed.
'Robbed Of Dignity In Their Deaths'
In the last parliamentary session held in March 2021, the same Ministry said no deaths have been reported due to manual scavenging drawing flak from activists like Sanjeev Kumar, the secretary of Dalit Adivasi Shakti Adhikar Manch said, " Those who lost their lives are being robbed of dignity even in their deaths."
Due to the deep-rooted societal and systemic challenges, this work form has become India's most lethal treacherous state of caste discriminatory job. Many, who are unaware of its hazardous effect performs this task without proper gears.