The inaugural session of the three days National Seminar on ” Social and Occupational Mobility of Manual Scavengers in India: A Policy Analysis from Social Exclusion Perspective” began in the Sir C V Raman auditorium at the University of Hyderabad (UoH) on 27th March 2018. This seminar is partially financed by ICSSR, Hyderabad. The seminar is organized by Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP) of UoH on a very significant issue of social discourse and contemporary relevance of Indian society.

The session was chaired by Prof. Sanjay Subodh, Head, Department of History and Director, College of Integrated Studies of the University. He felt quite important to have such a seminar as the practice of manual scavenging has historically been a sad moment for Indian society. He said, “This inhuman practice is a curse as personally this practice saddens me even today as we are discussing on a subject of this kind”.

In his inaugural address Prof. Srikrishna Deva Rao, Vice-Chancellor of National Law University of Orissa, stressed the need for abolishing manual scavenging and highlighted the Act of 1993 for the prohibition of manual scavenging. He shared his experiences in his crusade for abolishing the same. He shared his experiences of his association with the Safai Karmachari Andolan to abolish this practice. Dr. W. G. Prasanna, Chairman, National Council of Rural Institute deplored the grave conditions of manual scavengers by bringing several examples of death due to manhole in the urban areas including Hyderabad. He also promised to talk and discuss this matter with all the universities during his future endeavours of training and advocacy of NCRI.

Mr. Bezwada Wilson, a Magsaysay Awardee, while delivering the keynote address presented his ideas on manual scavengers and their life which was an eye opener to the delegates and participants. The narratives on manual scavengers life was precisely presented by him. He critically examined the Acts and Government Policies. His views on various schemes were highly significant throwing variety of ideas and perspectives to improve the social conditions of manual scavengers in India. He also brought out the various social and legal institutions that have been responsible for the continuation of this inhuman practice in the country. He appreciated the efforts put partially by a few policy makers and civil society organizations.

Prof. K Raja Mohan Rao, Director of CSSEIP in his welcome address stated that UoH is the only Central University that made the CSSEIP as a Permanent Centre. He thanked Prof. Appa Rao Podile, Vice-Chancellor of UoH for his constant support and encouragement to CSSEIP due to which the centre was able to organised six invited talks during this semester. He also state that UGC released Rs.2.56 Cr as arrears grant to the centre.

Dr. Rani Ratna Prabha, Assistant Professor, CSSEIP proposed the vote of thanks. Academicians from all over the country are attending this two-day seminar.