Any person who has been employed to handle undecomposed human waste from an insanitary latrine, open drain or pit or railway track is a manual scavenger. The person could have been employed by anyone – say someone from their village or by an agency or contractor. It does not matter if they were given regular employment or engaged on contract basis.
Any person who has been employed to clean human waste and does so with the help of the appropriate protective gear and equipment will not be considered a manual scavenger.
Another group of people called ‘safai karamcharis’ (“cleanliness workers”) are also sometimes considered as manual scavengers – however, they usually refer to people working as sweepers or cleaning workers in the municipalities, government or private organisations.