Despite notable economic growth, many Indian states are still backward due to job discrimination based on the caste system, ILO officials said in the state of Rajasthan, after corroborating the detrimental working conditions of people known as untouchables.
The manual collection of waste and excrements in India is reserved for the untouchables, also known as dalits, the bottom rung in the complex caste pyramid that has prevailed in India since time immemorial, regardless of laws.
ILO corroborated that the mere fact of not having a surname or being a dalit limits job possibilities for those people to the collecting waste and human excrement from streets, septic wells, and sewers using their hands.
The highly precarious and unhealthy conditions typical of that job aggravate the untouchabile status and marginalization of the dalits, the ILO said.
These workers are usually paid with a piece of unleavened bread, roti, and a few coins that barely enable them to survive.
“It is worrying that such terrible jobs exist in a country with high levels of growth, investment, and job opportunities,” ILO sustained.
Last month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called upon regional authorities to eliminate the ignominious manual collection of excrement in six months.
The Interior Ministry warned recently that hiring a person by case to do that job was punishable by Indian law, but the situation persists.