Sanitation workers have low awareness of livelihood schemes and are systematically denied access.

Poor awareness:

Workers are not made aware of rehabilitation schemes on the job; employers have misaligned incentives to promote pathways.

  • 85% of the workers we interviewed were not aware of any government schemes for their benefit .

In-caste discrimination:

Because of their lower sub-caste backgrounds, workers are usually excluded from SC oriented schemes as well.

  • Most of these schemes are soaked up by higher sub-castes within Dalits.

  • Several workers reported difficulties in obtaining caste certificates due to discrimination, a necessary precondition to getting any benefits.

  • Workers need to be informed about schemes and their rights through alternate (potentially multimedia) platforms.

Education and skill for the younger sanitation workers and the next generation is crucial to overcome the artificial barrier to entry; need incentives to employees for hiring these workers.

This insight applies to all types of unsafe sanitation work:

What this entails: Unblocking and cleaning sewer and wastewater drains

Frequency: Complaint-based, seasonal (rainy season) and occasionally for preventive maintenance

Location: Urban areas

What this entails: Emptying, collection and transport of human waste from septic tanks on an on-demand basis

Frequency: De-sludging frequency varies greatly, ranging from 6 months to 10-15 years

LocationPrimarily urban, mostly unplanned localities

What this entails: Cleaning faecal matter from railway tracks and platforms,railway toilets and platform toilets

Frequency: several times a day

Location: Rail network and railway stations

What this entails: Emptying of dry/single-pit latrines primarily in rural areas; daily collection and transport/emptying of fecal matter

LocationPrimarily rural

What this entails: Maintaining and operating sewage and faecal sludge treatment plants on a daily basis

LocationUrban, across the ~527 STPs/FSTPs in India

What this entails: Maintaining public/community toilets (often insanitary) on a daily basis

Location: Rural and urban CTCs, mostly in slums; public convenience shelters

What this entails: Operating and maintaining school toilets on a daily basis

LocationSchools – rural and urban

What this entails: Cleaning open drains and road sweeping, often encountering fecal matter due to open defecation and insanitary latrines connected to drains

LocationUrban – drains alongside roads

What this entails: Cleaning toilets in middle-high income households/institutions, encountering insanitary conditions at times

LocationUrban areas

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