Parliament on Saturday passed a bill aimed at eliminating of dry latrines and manual scavenging and the rehabilitation in alternate occupations of those engaged in this task.
The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Saturday, was moved by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Kumari Selja.
The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on Friday.
In the bill, the definition of manual scavenger has been widened to include a person engaged or employed for manual cleaning of human excreta in an insanitary latrine or in an open drain or pit, on railway tracks etc.
There are more stringent penal provisions for contravention of the act and to set up vigilance and monitoring committees at the sub-division, district, state and central levels.
"Existing laws have not proved adequate to eliminate dry latrines. They are not stringent enough to eliminate these inhuman conditions," Kumari Selja said.
Participating in the debate, Lok Janshakti Party leader Ram Vilas Paswan said: "They (manual scavengers) should be given pension and rehabilitated properly".