ULBs are increasing their use of sub-contractors exacerbating the problem for workers due to loopholes and the lack of oversight

Corporations are shifting towards contractual employment:

Most ULBs moving away from permanent workers to reduce payroll outflows in the long term, and ensure plausible deniability for themselves

  • Freeze on permanent hiring in Warangal


  • Labor supply contractors in Warangal have little or no responsibilities, exist as dummy figureheads

Vacancies at all levels:

Insufficient workers in cities due to underfunding

  • Deficit of ~600 SWs in Trichy

  • Vacancies also at senior levels (75% among SIs, 30% among JEs in Trichy, 40% in NCSK, etc.)

Contractors chosen based on relationships with officials:

Penalties against contractors are not enforced

  • NCSK receives ~500 workers’ complaints annually, most on wage theft, etc. against contractors

Terms of contract need to be made transparent to workers, and should include stricter regulatory enforcements for employee benefits and provisions for safety

This insight applies to 5 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: Maintaining and operating sewage and faecal sludge treatment plants on a daily basis

LocationUrban, across the ~527 STPs/FSTPs in India

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

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