In this article, we will discuss Scenario of rag-pickers in India. So, let’s get started.
Scenario of rag-pickers in India
- It is estimated that India generates 65 million tonnes of waste each year and is home to more than 4 million rag-pickers.
- Predominantly women, this army of rag-pickers or Safai Saathis is the backbone of traditional waste management in most Indian cities.
- There have been initiatives for the inclusion of rag-pickers such as:
- A 1995 report of the High-Power Committee on Solid Waste Management constituted by the Planning Commission called for integration of rag-pickers into the system.
- In 1988, an Expert Group constituted by the Supreme Court echoed the same recommendation.
- The Solid Waste Management Rules and Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, also recognise the contribution of rag-pickers and hold that they be included in the solid waste management of local bodies.
- However, the rag-pickers have not been included in any disaster management plan of the administration.
- When the government announced measures during the pandemic to support frontline workers, the rag-picker community remained conspicuous by its absence.
- Their multiple vulnerabilities, including low and uncertain incomes, limited access to government schemes, high health risks, and severe social exclusion, have all been exacerbated by Covid-19.