President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday called manual scavenging a 'shameful practice' and said that its eradication is not only the responsibility of the government but also of the society and citizens.
Kovind was presenting the Swachh Survekshan Awards 2021 which was organized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in the national capital.
Speaking at the event, the President said, "Swachh Survekshan Awards have special significance as it comes amid celebrations of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav'." Kovind quoted Mahatma Gandhi "cleanliness is next to godliness" and said, "According to him cleanliness should be the top priority. This priority of Gandhiji has been carried forward by the Government of India as a mass movement through Swachh Bharat Mission. Our efforts to make the country completely neat and clean are a true tribute to our freedom fighters." "Manual scavenging is a shameful practice. Eradication of this practice is not only the responsibility of the government but also of the society and citizens," he said.
The President noted that Safai Mitras and sanitation workers have continuously rendered their services even during the COVID pandemic.
He said that the government is committed to ensuring that the life of no sanitation worker is put at risk due to unsafe cleaning practices.
He appreciated the 'Safai Mitra Suraksha Challenge' initiative of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs which has been started in 246 cities with the aim to promote mechanical cleaning of sewers and septic tanks.
He noted that good examples are coming out of the idea of 'Waste to Wealth' and many start-ups are active in these areas. He said that appropriate schemes could be developed to encourage entrepreneurship and investment in these areas.
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