Saturday, November 14, 2015

Health Status of Dalits in India

From EPW (usually available online for 4 weeks):
"Despite involving them in the most hazardous job of manual scavenging, the scavengers are not provided with necessary safety items/equipment. The mandated safety items to be provided to them include: (1) three pairs of sarees, blouses and petticoats for women, and three pairs of pants and half-sleeved shirts and a cap or headgear, etc, (2) pair of slippers, (3) masks, (4) hand gloves, (5) an adequate quantity of soaps for bathing and washing their clothes, (6) brooms, (7) a pair of ankle-high rubber shoe and for a sweeper, a pair of slippers every year, (8) in the cold season, they are provided with one pair of woollen clothes as sweaters or jackets every alternate year, (9) raincoat and caps are provided to the scavengers in every rainy and winter season. Every scavenger employed in formal sectors, such as municipal corporations and village panchayats, is entitled to all these safety items. Though it is mandatory for all government offi ces to provide the scavengers with all these safety items, in the Gujarat study it was found that of the 2,456 identifi ed scavengers, only 9.1% (223) affi rmed that they had received at least some of these items. As high as 91% were found to have received no such items to protect themselves from the possible diseases and physical injuries while performing their job (Darokar and Beck 2006: 93)"

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