The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment jointly launched ‘NAMASTE’ (National Action for Mechanized Sanitation Ecosystem) Scheme.
Urban India has recommitted itself towards ensuring the safety, dignity, and security of all sanitation workers (SafaiMitras). For the first time, 500 cities across India have declared themselves as ‘SafaiMitra Surakshit Shehar’ on 17 August 2022.
- In doing so, they have established that the cities are able to achieve adequacy in terms of institutional capacity, manpower and equipment norms as stipulated by MoHUA and are providing safe working conditions for SafaiMitras.
- The ‘SafaiMitra Surakshit Shehar’ declaration done by 500 cities aligns with Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban’s longstanding goal of promoting sustainable sanitation practices and acting as a catalyst for the transformation of every ‘manhole’ into a ‘machine hole’.
Namaste is a Central Sector Scheme of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) as a joint initiative of the MoSJE and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
The ‘NAMASTE’ (National Action for Mechanized Sanitation Ecosystem) Scheme has been launched to provide impetus to the ongoing efforts towards mechanization and safety of workers.
- The Scheme has been approved with an outlay of Rs 360 crore for four years from 2022-23 to 2025-26.
Ensure safety and dignity of sanitation workers in urban India and providing sustainable livelihood and enhancing their occupational safety through capacity building and improved access to safety gear and machines.
- NAMASTE would also aim at providing access to alternative livelihoods support and entitlements to reduce the vulnerabilities of sanitation workers and enable them to access self-employment and skilled wage employment opportunities and break the intergenerationality in sanitation work.
- In addition, NAMASTE would bring about a behavior change amongst citizens towards sanitation workers and enhance demand for safe sanitation services.
NAMASTE Scheme aims to achieve the following outcomes:
- Zero fatalities in sanitation work in India
- All sanitation work is performed by skilled workers
- No sanitation workers come in direct contact with human faecal matter
- Sanitation workers are collectivized into SHGs and are empowered to run sanitation enterprises
- All Sewer and Septic tank sanitation workers (SSWs) have access to alternative livelihoods
- Strengthened supervisory and monitoring systems at national, state and ULB levels to ensure enforcement and monitoring of safe sanitation work
- Increased awareness amongst sanitation services seekers (individuals and institutions) to seek services from registered and skilled sanitation workers
National NAMASTE Management Unit:
National Safai Karamchari Financial Development Corporation (NSKFDC) would be implementing agency for NAMASTE. The Scheme will operate as a joint initiative of MOSJE and MoHUA, with a dedicated national team.
Five hundred cities (converging with AMRUT cities) will be taken up under this phase of NAMASTE.
The list of cities will be notified at an appropriate time. The category of cities that will be eligible are given below:
- All Cities and Towns with a population of over one lakh with notified Municipalities, including Cantonment Boards (Civilian areas),
- All Capital Cities/Towns of States/ Union Territories (UTs), not covered in 4(i),
- Ten Cities from hill states, islands and tourist destinations (not more than one from each State).