New Delhi:  Admitting to shortcomings in existing laws to eradicate manual scavenging, government on Monday said it would bring a new legislation with more stringent provisions for eliminating the scourge.

Social Justice Minister Mukul Wasnik said the government had no information on punishment meted out to individuals for encouraging manual scavenging.

"The government will soon bring a new law for eradication of the practice of manual scavenging and rehabilitating manual scavengers," Wasnik told the Lok Sabha during Question Hour amid opposition uproar over the issue of blackmoney.

He answered a couple of supplementaries in the din before Speaker Meira Kumar adjourned the House after appealing to the protesting opposition members to put questions on an important issue like manual scavenging.
He said the ongoing socio-economic caste census in rural India is collecting data on manual scavengers.

He also said the Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers was launched in January 2007 to provide financial assistance to manual scavengers and their dependents for undertaking alternative occupations.

Under the scheme, Rs 173.50 crore has been released to the state channelising agencies, who have confirmed utilisation of Rs 147.61 crore, Wasnik said.


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