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Social Justice Ministry report on manual scavenging

the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment informed that a total of 971 people lost their lives while cleaning sewers.

Why in News?

Recently, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment informed that a total of 971 people lost their lives while cleaning sewers or septic tanks since 1993.

  • Earlier, the Union Cabinet approved the extension of the tenure of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK) for three years beyond 31st March, 2022. The major beneficiaries would be the Safai Karamcharis and identified manual scavengers in the country.

What’s in today’s article?

  • NAMASTE Scheme
  • News Summary


  • NAMASTE stands for National Action for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem.
  • The objective of launching it is to ensure the safety and dignity of sanitation workers in urban India while providing them with a sustainable livelihood.
  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) jointly launched it as an initiative.
  • Implementing agency – National Safai Karamchari Financial Development Corporation (NSKFDC) would be implementing agency for NAMASTE.
  • For implementation, they will take up five hundred cities (converging with AMRUT cities) under this phase of NAMASTE. It will cover the period from 2022 to 2026.

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  • Zero fatalities in sanitation work in India
  • Skilled workers perform all sanitation work.
  • No sanitation workers come in direct contact with human faecal matter
  • SHGs collectivize sanitation workers and empower them to run sanitation enterprises.
  • All Sewer and Septic tank sanitation workers (SSWs) have access to alternative livelihoods


Extending Insurance Scheme Benefits
  • These workers and their families will be covered under the Ayushyaman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY).
  • The premium for AB-PMJAY for those identified SSWs families who are not covered earlier shall be borne under NAMASTE.
Livelihood Assistance
  • The Action Plan will promote mechanization and enterprise development.
  • Identified SSWs and their dependants will be given counselling on available livelihood choices and an opportunity to acquire alternative skills, if they so desire. The worker may choose to explore an alternative livelihood option or an entrepreneurial venture
  • An SSW may choose to continue working in the sanitation sector, thereby becoming eligible for receiving capacity building training.
Saturation with Social Security Schemes’ benefits
  • The identified SSWs and their family members will be extended benefits of all the social security schemes.
Other assistance
  • The scheme will include capital subsidies of up to ₹5 lakh on sanitation machinery costing up to ₹15 lakh and interest subsidies on loans.
  • The authorities will cap the interest rates between 4-6% for the beneficiaries.
  • The scheme also provides for training the workers in the use of these machines, during which time a stipend of up to ₹3,000 per month will be provided.

NAMASTE scheme

  • The merging of the scheme for rehabilitation of manual scavengers with the NAMASTE scheme for 100% mechanization of sewer work has taken place.
  • According to the Ministry, they are yet to finalize the guidelines for this scheme.
  • The FY 2023-24 Union Budget showed no allocation for the rehabilitation scheme and ₹100 crore allocation for the NAMASTE scheme.

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