While the 2013 Manual Scavenging act made a lot of meaningful strides towards the protection of sanitation workers, there are some policy gaps that need to be addressed. For instance, there are no clear guidelines and standard operating procedures for all of the 8-9 different types of unsafe sanitation work, and the required list of gear and equipment under this act and subsequent SC judgments don’t apply widely to all these professions.
From the insights on the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 we can see that a detailed multi-stakeholder review of the act is required to identify and plug loopholes (e.g., Manual cleaning of sewers illegal except when “absolutely necessary, with officials’ approval”).
Bearing this in mind, we believe that some ‘Regulatory Revisions’ can help in making worker-centric policies that can be implemented effectively for all the different types of sanitation work.
Some preliminary solutions include:
- human-centered design based playbooks for government and CSOs for developing schemes and processes for workers
- fast-tracking pending court cases under the MS act and
- mandating the creation of detailed SOPs.
WORKERS IMPACTED (100%)
Types of work: all
Gender: Male and female
Employment nature: Contractual and permanent
Personas: All personas
- UMC created an action plan to conform to the MS Act 2013 for Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation; developed SOPs for faecal sludge management for Ahmedabad
- Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) with the HMWSSB has specified SOPs for sewer cleaning in accordance to 2013 Act
- Chairman of the NCSK has raised the issue of making it a statutory or constitutional body (Nov, 2017)
- Developing a common understanding of unsafe sanitation work and workers to make relevant legal amendments and policies
- Benchmarking other emerging markets (with similar contexts) and other industries while devising policy