Manual Scavenging Eradication And Human Rights

Location: Tumkur, Karnataka

Grassroots Partner:  Prarambha

Project Description:

Caste is still prevalent in Indian society and also discrimination of lower castes. Still caste based jobs being performed like hereditary roles is  still prevalent in lower castes for menial jobs although others castes have moved to other occupations.
Thamate along with Prarambha having been fighting to both mobilize these communities and explain them of the their rights. This particular project concentrate on Manual Scavenging community in Tumkur and Pavgada. They are working simultaneously on eradication of manual scavenging, explaining them of their rights which come with their professor, collectivizing them to demand for their rights, and also in turn collect information to file PIL on all discrepancies.

Also the most important thing to is to break this cycle of continuing in same job generation after generation and to do so have proper education facilities for children of this community.

In India, around 1 million sweepers are engaged in manual scavenging work across the country in rural and urban areas. The practice of manual scavenging is increasing rapidly in urban areas. Only 10% municipal bodies are covered by underground drainage system. In all other municipalities and rural areas, soak pits in households are constructed. There is a large population of sweepers who also work as drainage / sewerage cleaners. It is estimated that every year, around 600 drainage cleaners/workers die while cleaning open or underground drainage/ soak pits. These workers get into sewage without detection of gases inside, oxygen mask, protective clothes or technical support from outside and thus fall prey to death or severe health hazards.

The largest chunk of scavenging community works as sweepers in unorganized sector. Assuming that there are 10 lac sweepers employed in municipalities and municipal corporations across India (no specific number can be traced because, since past 15 years, sweepers along with other class 4 government employees are employed on contract basis). Remaining sweepers work in unorganized sector either in contract system or on daily wage basis. This lands them in a condition without any social security, healthcare, assured income and safety from unforeseen situations or local goondas.

Situation of women from scavenging community (60% manual scavengers are women, and around 50% sweepers are women) is even worse. They are subjected to sexual harassment on daily basis by contractors or general public, victims of skin, gynecological and respiratory diseases. They are doubly victimized by domestic violence and unequal treatment in community.


  • Eradication of manual scavenging
  • Alternate employment for scavenging community
  • Education for children of scavenging community
  • Social  security of sweepers & manhole workers
  • Health entitlements
  • Accessing government schemes and programs
  • Work towards education of scavenging community to stop the cycle of doing same job through generations
  • Push for implementation of manual scavenging eradication act 2013
  • Collect information about the community and file PIL
  • Improve the working conditions and also explain their basic rights and protect their human right

Achievements of past 2 years:

  • Initiated 05 education support centers, educating 217 children in the age group of 6-14 years..
  • 8 government schools are being monitored for implementation of RTE Act and check discriminatory practices towards scavenging children.
  • 59 children motivated for education through Children’s residential camps. These camps also brought out talents in them. 185 children were enrolled in government & private schools, hostels and colleges.
  • 102 children were supported in getting scholarship.

Eradication of Manual scavenging practice:

  • 345 water facility toilets have been constructed to prevent manual scavenging
  • 160 manual scavengers have completely given up inhuman occupation of manual scavenging
  • Community based monitoring groups set up and strengthened at 5 locations
  • 76 community based volunteer leaders have emerged, who are being capacitated through trainings, handholding and accompaniment to government departments.
  • 1003 persons have been supported to access government schemes for pensions, ration cards, maternity benefit, self employment, provident fund, NREGA, etc.
  • Schemes for community welfare (drinking water, drainage, etc.) were also mobilized in last 2 years.
  • 291 sweepers have received safety equipments (cap, gloves, mask, apron and shoes) and are using them.

Manual scavenging/safaikarmachari Youth and alternative employment :

  • Identified and mobilized 199 MS/SK community youths who have engaged in un clean occupation
  • 55 youth have been enrolled in various vocational skill training courses
  • 179 scavengers have taken up alternate employment (jobs or self employment)

Legal Intravention-Avdocacy:

  • Actively supported for PIL at Karnataka high court, 2009, through conducting 20 fact findings on  manual scavengers death and submitted FFT report to court and National and state safikarmachari commission also Govt of Karnataka, SHRC,
  • 24 cases of manhole workers’ deaths at different places in Karnataka were taken up. The involvement includes fact finding, filing FIRs, negotiating proper compensation and follow up.
  • Ensured Govt order for accessing   compensation Rs.5laks,  20 Death  manual scavenging each family members  got Rs.5lack compensation,
  • Ensuring health entitlements for Manual scavengers and safikarmacharies and their family members:
  • 256 Madiga community women’s have got health entitlements like JSY, Madilu kits, prasuthi arike, Bhagyalaxmi bands,
  • 01 Dist hospital, 02 thaluk hospital and 5 PHCs are being monitored




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