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Guidelines for Safety of Safai Karmacharis

Section 7 of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. (MS Act, 2013) lays down that no person, local authority or any agency shall, form such date as the State Government may notify, which shall not be later than one year from the date of commencement of this Act, engage or employ, either directly or indirectly, any person for hazardous cleaning of a sewer or a septic tank.

As the MS Act, 2013 had come into force on 6.12.2013, hazardous cleaning of a sewer or septic tank is a prohibited activity with effect from 6.12.2014 in all the States and UTs except the state of Jammu & Kashmir.

Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Rules, 2013, which has come into force from 12.12.2013 stipulates the obligation of Employers towards employees who are engaged in cleaning of sewer or septic tanks to provide protective gear, safety devices and cleaning devices.

Supreme Court in its judgment dated 27.3.2014 in the Writ Petition No. 583 of 2003 directed the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations to identify all the families of all persons who have died in sewerage work (manholes, septic tanks) since 1993 and award compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs for each such death to the family members depending on them.

Under Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Rules, 2013. The obligations of employer towards employees engaged in the cleaning of sewer or septic tank include, inter alia, insuring that they have life insurance policy of at least 10 lakhs Rupees for which premium will be paid by the employer.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Vijay Sampla in the Rajya Sabha today.

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