Rehabilitation or livelihood schemes are not designed keeping in mind the unique needs of different kinds of sanitation workers

Broad-brushes in policy design:

Interventions not specialized by types of work, rural-urban or region

  • Self-employment schemes failing in urban areas as workers are looking to get stable salaried employment

Poor design of loan-based schemes:

Prescribed amounts (average NSKFDC loan last year was ~Rs. 1.5 lakh) are too high for banks to sanction, and for SWs to effectively use for smaller financial needs

  • Several loan-based schemes are being refused because of a high loan and low subsidy amount

Skilling schemes not supported with backend commitments with employers:

Stipend and training programs have poor conversion rates to jobs, and new jobs often pay even lower wages than sanitation work  

  • There are no commitments from employers to accept rehabilitated and trained SWs

Schemes need to be redesigned with a user-centric lens; need different types of strategies for different kinds of workers (training and employment in urban areas, small-scale businesses in peri-urban/rural areas)

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

Related Projects