Topic- Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
5) The misery or sanitation workers need to be put to an end, for the success of swachh Bharat mission. In this regard, analyze the problems faced by sanitation workers and ways to resolve it?(250 words)
Why this question
The plight of sanitation workers is an oft recurring issue. While the government is focussing so severely on toilet provision in tandem with Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, the focus on behavioural change towards sanitation and a moral change towards sanitation workers is what is lagging behind and hence this question.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to discuss the key issues plaguing sanitation workers, explain the steps being taken to protect them, lacunae therein and finally suggestions for improvement.
Analyze – When asked to analyze, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Highlight that while the government is focussing so severely on toilet provision in tandem with Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, the focus on behavioural change towards sanitation and a moral change towards sanitation workers is what is lagging behind.
- Paint a picture of the status quo of sanitation workers – Over 1.1 million sanitation workers, primarily engaged in sewer cleaning, septic tank cleaning, railway cleaning, and community/public toilet cleaning, more than 500,000 of these are women. CEC study of 200 DJB manhole workers found that 92.5% of workers wore the safety belt. But this did not prevent 91.5% of them suffering injuries, and 80% suffering eye infections.
- Discuss the major issues faced by sanitation workers –
- Economic issues – contractual workers and thus no job security
- Health issues
- Socio-economic issues – experience untouchability, are unable to find employment outside sanitation work, and their children, despite gaining basic level education, are unable to find any other form of employment
- Discuss the steps taken by the government
- The Prohibition Of Employment As Manual Scavengers And Their Rehabilitation Act, 2013
- Prevention of Atrocities Act, commissions such as National Safai Karmchari Commission (NSKM), and schemes available through National Safai Karmchari Development and Finance Corporation (NSKFDC) and SC/ST Development Corporation (SDC) at national level and Maha Dalit Vikas Missions at state level
- Examine the lacunae in these measures
- most sanitation workers are unaware of their rights under these schemes; even when they are aware, they do not know the processes to avail benefits. Further, because most sanitation workers are urban poor and reside in informal settlements, they do not have adequate documents such as residence proof, birth certificates and identity cards making it next to impossible for them to apply for these schemes.
- Give suggestions regarding what can be done
Conclusion – emphasize on their plight and the need to address it for the success of swachh Bharat mission.