Swachha Bharat Abhiyan : Social Stigma against workers - Seeker's Thoughts

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Thursday, 23 August 2018

Swachha Bharat Abhiyan : Social Stigma against workers

Swachha Bharat Abhiyan 
 on 2nd October 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced to clean India by 2019.  This was launched on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. 

The aim was to start a nationwide initiative aimed to inspire the public to voluntarily cleaning the public spaces.  

The filth in the nation was affecting tourism and health. So, the clean India could provide job to poor due to tourism , It was intended. Huge publicity was done, and it included various celebrities as well. 

As a result, municipalities began to employ more contractual labor.
It also led to the door to door garbage collection, and workers were expected to whistle to inform about garbage collection. Workers collect the waste and manually segregate the waste at landfill which has consequences of hygiene and health. 
Previously door to door service was taken down in 1993 when workers used to collect latrine from door to door. 

The Problem: A particular caste in Manual Scavenging
The Swachha Bharat Mission supposed to be secular in nature but it has become casteist as scavenging is done by a particular cast. Cleaning was supposed to be volunteer service. This further lead to some social problems. That particular caste was still treated 'unhygienic' and 'impure'.  
What Government should do?
  1. Any tangible achievement of clean India is possible when this social narrative related to sanitary labor is critically addressed by caste neutralization. 
  2. New technologies, from west can be learnt to work better in this segment
  3. People who work in garbage collection they are often taken from a particular caste and they are always treated unhygienic. So the government should hire cleaning agents from all communities. 
  4. Laws should be regulated – Like punitive measure for open defecation, and construction of toilet in public places should be done.
  5. People should be fined heavily if they through garbage everywhere.
  6. There should be cultivation of habits in schools that one should keep the garbage inside bin.
  7. There should be proper care for sanitation workers (Like more insurance and health checkup, better mast and dresses), as there have been deaths during manual scavenging. According to the Ministry of social justice and empowerment in Lok Sabha 2017
Conclusion - The campaign was not based on laborer who are burdened with exclusive right to clean the country, it was to bring the change in social habits of people. Country needs to make this sanitation drive of minds too where caste can be the cause of humiliation. 




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