This will provide workers with the tools and support needed to realise business opportunities.


In Dalberg’s interactions with workers, it was clear that they lacked support and motivation to transition to self-employment-oriented opportunities. While several workers entertained the idea of owning small businesses, they were wary of the risk associated with these jobs, particularly given their caste backgrounds. In situations wherein they felt motivated, they lacked basic financing and technical support to execute their plans.

Bearing this in mind, we are proposing a solution titled ‘Enabling Entrepreneurship for Sanitation Workers’. Some preliminary components could include establishing collective employment groups as SHGs that are supported with capacity building, financing and guaranteed purchase agreements, and micro-loans for workers, risk management through guarantees, an online platform to match individuals with supporting partners.

Within sanitation

• First preference given to sanitation workers to become sanitation entrepreneurs when mechanising a process

Collective employment outside sanitation

  • Collective employment groups (SHGs) supported with capacity building and mentorship from CSOs
  • Financing (including small ticket size loans) and subsidies for raw materials, land, etc.
  • Guaranteed purchase agreements by corporates or govt.

Individual businesses outside sanitation

  • Single-window, fast-track clearance based on SW id for small ticket-sized loans
  • Varying loan amounts, especially micro loans
  • Priority-sector lending by banks or target-based lending (such as 0.1% of total lending)
  • Broader list of income-generating activities that qualify for rehabilitation loans; allow activities that are feasible in local areas such as dairy farming, fisheries, etc.


Types of work: all

Gender: Male and female

Employment nature: Contractual (permanent unlikely to move out)

Personas: Reluctant inheritor


  • HMWSSB provided manual scavengers with the option of owning mini-jetting machines; subsidised loans from SBI
  • Usha International provided technical training and sewing machines to former manual scavengers to cut, stitch and design garments; in Ujjain, former manual scavengers collectively produced agarbattis for ITC
  • Sulabh International has set-up collective employment groups for liberated manual scavengers


  • Partnerships with financial institutions and corporates
  • Availability of CSOs to facilitate and support businesses
  • Potential integration with existing schemes (e.g., NULM)

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