Processes to avail schemes are arduous and come at a significant cost to workers; they are dissuaded to claim their rights

Burden of proof on sanitation workers:

Most schemes require workers to provide (often govt.) identification that ties them to their work; high rate of refusal

  • TAHDCO turned away 200 self-identified manual scavengers last year due to lack of govt. ID

Schemes are mediated through entities that have perverse incentives:

Supervisors/officials at ULBs are required to certify status of SWs; have incentives to deny. There is also evidence of rent-seeking in the process

  • CSO estimates suggest that 68% of SRMS beneficiaries were not legitimate manual scavengers

Tedious, long-drawn process:

High opportunity cost of time for daily wage SWs to engage with bureaucrats

  • Takes longer than 1 year and several visits to get loans approved and disbursed

Process needs to be simplified; all types of workers need to be provided with identity cards to unlock access to schemes

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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