Transforming Sanitation Workforce: The NAMASTE Initiative

Image depicting the NAMASTE Scheme logo, symbolizing the transformation of the sanitation workforce towards dignity and safety
Transforming Sanitation Workforce: The NAMASTE Initiative [Source:]

The NAMASTE Scheme, a joint effort by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, aims to eradicate the hazardous practice of manual sewer and septic tank cleaning. Administered by the National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC) from 2023-24 to 2025-26, with a budget of 349.73 crores, it prioritizes the welfare of Sewer and Septic Tank Workers (SSWs).

Key Components of the NAMASTE Scheme:

  • SSW Profiling: Leveraging digital tools to identify around 1 lakh SSWs in Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).
  • Health Insurance: Providing coverage under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY).
  • Occupational Safety Training: Equipping SSWs with essential safety skills and establishing Sanitation Response Units.
  • Capital Subsidy: Offering up to Rs. 5.00 lakh for the purchase of sanitation vehicles and equipment.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Distribution: Ensuring SSWs have access to necessary protective gear, along with safety devices for Emergency Response Sanitation Units (ERSUs).
  • Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) Campaigns: Raising awareness about SSW safety and dignity through targeted communication.

Implementation Process:

  • SSW Profiling and NAMASTE Mobile Application Training: Commencing with the creation of a national SSW database, training sessions were conducted across 30 States/UTs for stakeholders, including ULB officials and surveyors.
  • Training of Trainers on NAMASTE Mobile App Usage: Ensuring officers in four states are proficient in the app and scheme through physical and online training sessions conducted in regional languages.
  • SSW Profiling Camps and IEC Campaigns: Profiling activities were initiated in 28 states after successful training sessions. Simultaneously, IEC campaigns were launched through various media channels to educate and inform the public.

As of March 6th, 2024, a total of 28,732 SSWs have been surveyed, with 21,760 validations. Through its holistic approach, the NAMASTE Scheme aims to elevate and protect the dignity of sanitation workers, while promoting mechanized sanitation practices.

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