Manual scavenging remains a blot on India\u2019s governance, considering it was outlawed 25 years ago, and yet, since 2017, one manual scavenger has died every five days, as per data from the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis. Most of the times, standard safety practices weren\u2019t followed and the deceased had not been provided any safety gear. For a bare minimum income, in a practice that reinforces age-old caste beliefs, manual scavengers take on grave risk to life and limb\u2014from toxic gases in sewer lines to infections like hepatitis, leptospirosis, respiratory disorders from manually removing excreta Ironically, precisely because manual scavenging has been long outlawed, states have resorted to simply under-reporting the population of manual scavengers in their respective jurisdictions\u2014some have even claimed that they don\u2019t have a single manual scavenger. Despite such under-reporting, their numbers, as per a Union government task force, have grown four-fold since the last time such an exercise was conducted. READ ALSO |\u00a0Yes Bank names Deutsche Bank\u2019s Ravneet Gill as new MD, CEO; posts fall in Q3 net profit The definition of a \u201cmanual scavenger\u201d as per the law doesn\u2019t recognise septic tank and sewer-line cleaners as manual scavengers. A large number of toilets, including many built under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), in the absence of a sewerage system, rely on waste collection in small pits\u2014this has led to hiring of manual scavengers for cleaning. Toilets build under SBM should be built on the twin pit model, where one pit is in use and the other is composting the collected human waste. Indeed, the government employs people for this routinely, the most prominent example of this being the Railways. While the Supreme Court has, on several occasions, directed the Centre and state governments to take steps towards the monitoring and implementation of the ban on manual scavenging, this hasn\u2019t been effective. Sensitisation, counselling and awareness campaigns can help, but what is really needed is the providing of suitable alternative jobs for manual scavengers, especially women.