Protective of their jobs:
Sanitation workers are wary of entry of other communities into these jobs, access to these jobs is the only tangible ‘asset’ protected from dominant caste groups.
- In our interviews, workers expressed fears that as jobs become more mechanized, other communities will express interest to take their jobs, wanted reservations and permanent status.
Underemployment even in sub-castes:
Workers are aware about a general paucity in employment opportunities across the board, and are aware that they are easily replaceable.
- Data indicates that there is 50-60% underemployment within sanitation work for the lowest sub-caste groups, several others in line to do similar jobs.
Workers need to be shown job security and a baseline financial protection in livelihood alternatives.
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
Location: Primarily 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
Location: Primarily rural
What this entails: Maintaining and operating sewage and faecal sludge treatment plants on a daily basis
Location: Urban, 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
Location: Schools – 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
Location: Urban – drains alongside roads
What this entails: Cleaning toilets in middle-high income households/institutions, encountering insanitary conditions at times
Location: Urban areas