Government of India Planning ‘National Award’ for Rag Pickers

The Government of India is planning to acknowledge the services carried by Rag Pickers by comprising a National Award. This award will honour the services of Rag Pickers towards the grand objective of keeping India clean. “There are millions of rag pickers in the country. This informal sector has saved the country. They are doing a good job and I have decided to recognise their efforts. We will grant national award,” Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said at an event on waste management in New Delhi.

The Award with a cash prize of Rs. 1.5 Lakh will be given to three best Rag Pickers and three associations involved in innovation of best practices related to the treatment of waste disposal. Stating that rag pickers are helping to some extent in handling waste, the Minister pitched for setting up of a credible agency like Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) that can guide municipal bodies to take measures to address waste management in a scientific way. “At present, agencies that handle solid waste are working on contractual basis and this has failed miserably.

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Handling waste cannot always be a profitable business. We have suggested that the Urban Ministry build a credible agency like DMRC that can give scientific guidance,” The Minister said. The Minister pointed out that even though there are adequate funds for waste management, absence of scientific guidance is what creating problems in the treatment of different kinds of waste. Expressing concern over the large quantity of untreated waste and sewage in the country, Minister said that current rules have been revised to ensure every village of over population of 5,000 has a waste treatment plant.

This is one of the brilliant ideas for handling of untreated waste and sewage in the country. The country is generating about 62 million tonnes of waste annually. This is expected to increase to 165 million tonnes by 2030 and 450 million tonnes by 2050. The most worrying fact about this is that 68 percent of waste and sewage in the country are left untreated at present.

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