ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Mechanisation without Decent Job Alternatives

Giving a rhetorical name to a scheme does not always ensure a change in social reality.

The trend of big announcements continued in the Union Budget 202324 speech as well where the finance minister introduced a new initiative that aims at 100% mechanisation of the cleaning of sewers and septic tanks in the country. Officially named the National Action for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem (NAMASTE), this central sector scheme is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The budget speech of the finance minister stated that All cities and towns will be enabled for 100% mechanical desludging of septic tanks and sewers to transition from manhole to machine-hole mode. Further, the minister also put emphasis on the scientific management of dry and wet waste.

It needs to be acknowledged that this scheme has some positive sides, which include ensuring zero fatalities in sanitation work, no contact with human faecal matter, only skilled workers to perform this task, access to alternative livelihoods for sanitation workers, etc. Further, this scheme aims to identify and enumerate sewer and septic tank workers with an added focus on the informal and contractual workers engaged in what are described as hazardous cleaning operations.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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