In news– Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved the extension of the tenure of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) for three years beyond 31.3.2022.
About National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK)-
- The commission was set up in 1993 under the NCSK Act, 1993 for a period of three years, which has been extended since then, despite the Act ceasing to have effect from February 29, 2004.
- After that the tenure of the NCSK is acting as a Non-Statutory body of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment whose tenure is extended from time to time through Government Resolutions.
- The Commission comprises one Chairman (in the rank and status of the Union Minister for States) and four members, including a lady member (in the rank and status of the Secretary to the Government of India) and the Secretary (in the rank of Joint Secretary to the Govt. of India) along with other supporting staff.
Mandate of the commission-
- Recommend to the Central Government specific programmes of action towards elimination of inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities for Safai Karamcharis.
- Study and evaluate the implementation of the programmes and schemes relating to the social and economic rehabilitation of Safai Karamcharis and scavengers, in particular.
- Investigate specific grievances and take suo-motu notice of matters relating to non-implementation of:
- programmes or schemes in respect of any group of Safai Karamcharis.
- decisions, guidelines or instructions, aimed at mitigating the hardships of Safai Karamcharis.
- measures for the social and economic upliftment of Safai Karamcharis.
- the provisions of any law in its application to Safai Karamcharis; and take up such matters with the concerned authorities or with the Central or State Governments.
- To study and monitor the working conditions, including those relating to health, safety and wages of Safai Karamcharis working under various kinds of employers including Government, Municipalities and Panchayats, and to make recommendations in this regard.
- Make reports to the Central or State Governments on any matter concerning Safai Karamcharis, taking into account any difficulties or disabilities being encountered by Safai Karamcharis.
However, with the enactment of “The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013”, the mandate and scope of the Commission has also been enlarged. As per Section 31(1) of the said Act, the Commission shall perform the following functions, namely:
- To monitor the implementation of the Act.
- To enquire into complaints regarding contravention of the provisions of the Act, and to convey its findings to the concerned authorities with recommendations requiring further action.
- To advise the Central and the State Governments for effective implementation of the provisions of the Act.
- To take suo motu notice of matters relating to non-implementation of the Act.
- In the discharge of its functions, the Commission has the powers to call for information with respect to any matter specified above from any Government or local or other authority.