Official Identity Means Indian City’s Rag Pickers Are Safer


Rag pickers in a central Indian city will be safer as they collect street waste thanks to the efforts of a church group who assisted them to acquire official identification.

For 15 years, church group Jan Vikas (People’s Development) Society, has been advocating the need for rag pickers in the city of Indore to have official identification to help ensure their safety.

Malini Gaur, the mayor of the city, distributed identity cards to 250 rag pickers in a recent public function.

“We are grateful to the Indore Municipal Corporation for accepting our long standing demand and issuing identity cards to rag pickers,” says Father Roy Thomas, director of Jan Vikas (people’s development) Society.

Father Thomas said that the card gives allows them to pick up trash — such as plastic and metal waste — from public places and homes.

Without such cards they are often suspected as criminals and thieves and shooed away disturbing their dignity as human beings, the Divine Word priest said.

The identity cards will help them collect waste without fear of harassment from local police and people. “It will also add to their self esteem,” he told

Divine Word missionary Father George Payattikattu started the Jan Vikas Society in 2001 to serve the poor in city, which is the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh state.

UCA News

The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News, UCAN) is the leading independent Catholic news source in Asia. A network of journalists and editors that spans East, South and Southeast Asia, UCA News has for four decades aimed to provide the most accurate and up-to-date news, feature, commentary and analysis, and multimedia content on social, political and religious developments that relate or are of interest to the Catholic Church in Asia.

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