Extension of National Commission for Safai Karamcharis

The Union Cabinet recently extended the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis for three more years. The current tenure of the commission ends in March 2022. The commission has been extended for three years after this. The extension is being made at a cost of Rs 43.68 crores. Safai karamcharis are the manual scavengers. They clean drainages and sewer with direct hands, without any protection or equipment.

Background

The National Commission for Safai Karamcharis were created as an advisory body. It provided recommendations to the Government of India on welfare of the safai karamcharis. Also, the commission evaluated the execution of special programmes for safai karamcharis.

Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013

The commission monitors the implementation of the act. It checks if the central and state governments take appropriate actions towards the complaints against under the purview of the act. Kindly note that the commission only monitors the act and does not work as governed by the act. The commission is not governed by any law.

Commission is a non – Statutory body

The commission was established in 1993. It was established under the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis act, 1993. The validity of the act was till 1997. Later it was extended till 2002 and then till 2004. Later it was made a non – statutory body. Meaning, it is not governed by laws or acts. Till date National Commission for Karamcharis functions as a non – statutory body.

Need for the extension

In spite of strict and wide measures, manual scavenging still prevails in India. Sporadic instances exist in interior rural areas. They are deprived of education and socio – economic benefits. For these reasons, the Government of India is extending the tenure of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis. With this, the government aims to achieve complete mechanization of septic tank and sewer cleaning.

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