NAMASTE Scheme:

  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJ&E) is  preparing to  undertake a nationwide survey to enumerate all Sanitation workers engaged in cleaning of sewers and septic tanks.
    • The NAMASTE scheme is being undertaken jointly by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and the MoSJ&E and aims to eradicate unsafe sewer and septic tank cleaning practices.

Objectives:

  • 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 collectivised into Self Help Groups (SHGs) and are empowered to run sanitation enterprises.
    • Strengthened supervisory and monitoring systems at National, State and Urban Local Body (ULB) levels to ensure enforcement and monitoring of safe sanitation work.
    • Increased awareness among sanitation services seekers (individuals and institutions) to seek services from registered and skilled sanitation workers.

Key Points:

  • The enumeration exercise is part of the National Action Plan for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem (NAMASTE) Scheme and will be conducted across 500 AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) cities.
    • It will merge with and replace the Self-Employment Scheme for the Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (SRMS), which was started in 2007.
    • Programme Monitoring Units (PMUs) for the 500 AMRUT cities will be set up to carry out the exercise.
    • Once this exercise is completed across the 500 cities, it will be expanded nationwide, making it easier to bring government benefits like upskilling and loan and capital subsidies to them.

What is the Need for Enumeration Exercise?

  • Manual Scavenging has led to at least 351 deaths since 2017.
    • It is aimed at streamlining the process of rehabilitating sanitation workers.
    • It will make it easier to bring government benefits like upskilling and loan and capital subsidies to them.
    • To link listed sanitation workers to the Swaachha Udyami Yojana, through which the workers will be able to own sanitation machines themselves and the government will ensure that at the municipality level, the work keeps coming in.
    • Swaachha Udyami Yojana has twin objectives of cleanliness and providing livelihood to Safai Karamcharis and liberated Manual Scavengers to achieve the overall goal of “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”.

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