We conducted in-depth field research and interacted with various stakeholders to identify key issues related to the condition of sanitation workers in the country.

The 29 key insights we developed from a combination of field research, stakeholder interviews and desk research can be grouped in four categories:



We looked at mental models impacting entry into the job, worker perceptions, behaviour on-the-job and pathways for progression.


We studied the role of caste in perpetuating unsafe conditions for workers as well as the choices and constraints faced by women.


We looked at the quality of the toilet and sanitation system interface, sanitation infrastructure, cleaning equipment and safety gear.


We analyzed government priorities for sanitation workers, policy design, financing, organization, systems and processes and capacity building.

Absence of safety training

Relapse despite upskilling

Costly and arduous schemes

Reactive sanitation systems

Use of sub-contractors

Ministries operating in silos

Inadequate budgets

Rehabilitation schemes

2013 MS Act

Disincentivized authorities

Primitive safety gear

Necessary human intervention

Legacy sanitation systems

Poor use of sanitation systems

No pathways for growth

Workers are risk averse

Cost of workplace injuries

Incomplete mental models

Workers are fragmented

Family and spousal history

Invisibilization of workers
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