New Delhi: Emphasising Centre's commitment to eliminate manual scavenging, Union Social Justice Minister Thawaar Chand Gehlot on Wednesday expressed concern over "only few states" furnishing information on manual scavenging.
"Only very few states have furnished information about families involved in manual scavenging. It would not be an exaggeration if I say hardly 10 to 11 states have given required information," Gehlot said.
He was addressing a gathering at a conference of state ministers on complete elimination of manual scavenging through effective implementation of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 here.
Mentioning that the Centre has launched several schemes for the rehabilitation of manual scavengers, he stressed that state governments should take initiatives for identifying whether the beneficiaries hold bank accounts or not.
"A one-time cash assistance of Rs 40,000 to one identified manual scavenger from a family is available. If their account numbers are provided to us, we can directly deposit the assistance to them," the minister added.
Earlier, in his address, National Commission for Scheduled Castes chairman PL Punia demanded stern action against officials including District Magistrates, who are not implementing the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers Act.
"I therefore strongly recommend that the officials responsible for implementing the provision of this act, including the District Magistrates should be booked under Section 4 of SC/ST of Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989 for deliberately not discharging their duties," Punia said.
Later, Delhi Government's Social Welfare Minister Sandeep Kumar said there were no manual scavengers in the national capital.
Other state governments, which were represented by their ministers sought for revising the one-time cash assistance of Rs 40,000, assistance for upgrading the sewerage system and training facilities for rehabilitated manual scavengers.