National Action for Mechanised Sanitation Ecosystem (NAMASTE) is an initiative to ensure the safety of sanitation workers. Read here to know more about the scheme.
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).
NAMASTE envisages the safety and dignity of sanitation workers in urban India by creating an enabling ecosystem that recognizes sanitation workers as one of the key contributors to the operations and maintenance of sanitation infrastructure.
The Scheme has been approved for four years from 2022-23 to 2025-26
Significance of NAMASTE
- The scheme will help in providing sanitation workers a sustainable livelihood and enhancing their occupational safety through capacity building and improved access to safety gear and machines.
- NAMASTE would also aim to provide access to alternative livelihoods support and entitlements to reduce the vulnerabilities of sanitation workers.
- Enable them to access self-employment and skilled wage employment opportunities and break the intergenerational trend in sanitation work.
- NAMASTE would bring about a behavior change amongst citizens towards sanitation workers and enhance demand for safe sanitation services.
Objectives of NAMASTE
NAMASTE aims to achieve the following outcomes:
- Zero fatalities in sanitation work in India
- Skilled workers perform all sanitation work
- No sanitation workers come in direct contact with human fecal 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
Five hundred cities (converging with AMRUT cities) will be taken up under this phase of NAMASTE.
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 (I),
- Ten Cities from hill states, islands, and tourist destinations (not more than one from each State).
Benefits of NAMASTE to workers
Enumeration: NAMASTE envisages identifying the Sewer/Septic Tank Workers (SSWs) with a focus on the informal workforce who are engaged in hazardous cleaning operations.
- The database will enable MoSJE, National Safai Karamchari Finance Development Corporation (NSKFDC), and MoHUA (including DAY-NULM, SBM 2.0, and AMRUT) to reach to the SSWs and their families and provide them necessary support for collectivization, skill building and linking with social and financial benefits.
- The Survey would be conducted by the City NAMASTE Managers and validated by the concerned ULB. The survey would be held in digital mode in a pre-approved format.
Extending Insurance Scheme Benefits: For providing a safety net to identified SSWs and their families, they 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.
- NSKFDC will provide funding support and subsidy to the sanitation workers, SHGs of SSWs, and private sanitation service organizations (PSSOs) to procure sanitation-related equipment and vehicles for the total mechanization of cleaning operations.
Saturation with Social Security Schemes’ benefits: The identified sanitation workers and their family members will be extended benefits of all the social security schemes being implemented by various departments in the area, like:
- Food Security (Ration)
- Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana
- Scholarship Schemes at pre-matric and post-matric levels
- Enrolment of school, school-going-age children
- Atal Pension Yojana
- Pension Schemes for older persons, widows, orphans, physically challenged, etc.
- Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana(PM-SBY)
- Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PM-JJBY)
- Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana
- Allotment of free land/plots
- Coaching for entrance exams and service.
- Any other scheme
National NAMASTE Management Unit
National Safai Karamchari Financial Development Corporation (NSKFDC) would be implementing an agency for NAMASTE.
The Scheme will operate as a joint initiative of MOSJE and MoHUA, with a dedicated national team.
- At the apex of the structure will be the National NAMASTE Monitoring Unit (NNMU) under the Managing Director, NSKFDC, which will report to the concerned Division head in the MoSJE, Government of India.
- A Technical Support Unit (TSU) consisting of a team of IT professionals, Experts in the implementation of similar programs, SHG expert, IEC expert, banking experts, etc., will be established to support the implementation of NAMASTE and facilitate coordination between MoSJE and MoHUA.
- Maximum monitoring and reporting will be on a real-time basis through a mobile app and a dedicated website.
State NAMASTE Management Unit
The State Govt. will decide on a suitable officer to be designated as State Namaste Director to head State Namaste Management Unit (SNMU).
- The officer may be from SBM, NULM, AMRUT, the ULB, or any other relevant Department of the State.
City NAMASTE Monitoring Unit
While constituting the Project Management Unit as an implementation body at the city level, the PMU would be organized in clusters of municipalities to work as City NAMASTE Monitoring Unit (CNMU) to coincide with the SBM clusters.
The financing of the Action Plan shall be leveraged under the Schemes of MoHUA (SBM and DAY-NULM), particularly for the following interventions:
- SHG formation of core sanitation workers
- PPE procurement and distribution
- Safety devices and equipment procurement (can also be financed through NSKFDC to ULBs)
- Occupational safety training and skilling for SEPs & Duty Supervisors (can also be done through NSKFDC under SRMS)
- Providing work assurance to sanitation workers interested in availing Sanitation Related Projects.
- Interventions under AMRUT
MoSJE had informed previously that around 971 sanitation workers had lost their lives on the job since 1993. This shows that the ban on employment of people as manual scavengers and sanitation workers in1993 (The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993).
The stigma and discrimination associated with the profession make it difficult for the liberated workers or family members in securing alternative livelihoods. This is where a scheme like NAMASTE will help provide them with a dignified livelihood and financial safety net.