• Under the challenge, all states/UTs pledged to make sewer-cleaning mechanised by April 2021, promote citizen awareness and prevent Flazardous Cleaning of Sewers and Septic Tanks.
• 243 cities will be awarded under three sub-categories based on population: up to 3 lakh, 3-10 lakh and over 10 lakh.
• Manual Scavenging is defined as removal of human excrement from public streets and dry latrines, cleaning septic tanks, gutters and sewers.
• Official records show that manual scavenging has led to 376 deaths over past five years.
• Sanitation being a State subject, people for cleaning of sewers and septic tanks are employed by local bodies.
• Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, banned employment of people as manual scavengers.
• Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 that bans manual scavenging in all forms, provides for their survey and rehabilitation within a time bound manner.
• Establishment of National Commission for Safai Karamcharis to look into matters concerning the Safai Karamcharis welfare.
Mains Paper 2: Governance
Prelims level: Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge
Mains level: Read the newsfeed