Rag Picking: the Unrecognised People

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Rag-picking: The Unrecognised People

India’s flourishing urbanization brings the problem of waste management. As urbanization is increasing the amount of waste is increasing at a high pace and waste management is likely to become a serious problem in the coming days. Rag pickers play an important, but usually silent role in the waste management system of Indian cities. In search of recyclable items they search garbage that can be sold to scrap merchant (paper, plastic, tin etc).This activity require no skills and it has become a good source of income for a growing number of urban poor. Rag-pickers are mostly women and children who come from the most downtrodden and vulnerable workers in the informal economy. Their work is seen as shameful and of the lowest grade, and they are not generally accepted by the society. Most of the rag-pickers are not independent; they work for middleman or contractors who purchase those wastes from rag-pickers at pre-decided rate. Role of Rag-pickers is still unrecognized despite knowing the fact that they save 14% of the budget of Municipal Corporation annually. In India more than one million people find their live hood through rag-picking. Condition of Indian is worst where one among each hundred people is a rag-picker.

Rag pickers are mostly migrants who had fled their city or village because of poverty. Mostly they are Dalits (chamar or bojhni community) or belong to minorities (Muslims in kolkata).Government treat them as migrants so very policy has been made so far to improve their situation. Most of them don’t have identity cards or birth certificate and therefore don’t have access to basic governmental facilities.

Many children are also involved in this business. Majority of the rag pickers are between 8 and 10 years old. Most of them are illiterate. According to a survey 79percent of parents don’t want to send their children to school because they are the source of income for their family, 12 percent children say...
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