INDIA HAS the world’s fastest growing mobile phone market, a stock market that has grown 25 percent in five months, and, for a few days in November, the world’s richest man. Aruna Roy, veteran social activist, is unimpressed: “India can forget its boasts, forget its 9.5 percent growth. This country employs 12 to 13 lakh Dalits to clean up human waste. If we can’t eradicate this, all other achievements are meaningless.” [emphasis mine]now scroll further down the report:
MOSES ACKNOWLEDGES there are obstacles to navigate: “We need economic alternatives and rehabilitation for the scavengers. In March 2006, the Supreme Court ordered that the Ministry of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation establish schemes for the economic rehabilitation of safai karamcharis, and announce the funds allocated. So far this has not been done.” The technological problem poses another obstacle. 82 percent of the population has no access to sanitation facilities; in rural areas dry latrines are seen as the only alternative to sewers. [emphasis mine].you could say there are more than 820 million reasons why india needs manual scavengers. starting with the need to achieve 9.5% growth to the need to produce more and more ramon magsaysay award winning 'grassroots' activists.