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500 Cities Declare Mechanized Sanitation

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’. 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’.

Shri Manoj Joshi, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), and Shri R. Subrahmanyam, Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MoSJE) jointly chaired the webinar which was attended by State Mission Directors of SBM-U, as well as Commissioners of leading cities in this initiative including AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) Cities.

Congratulating States and cities for their efforts, Shri Manoj Joshi and Shri. R. Subrahmanyam highlighted the need for all cities and States to remain committed to the cause of ‘SafaiMitra Suraksha’. To provide impetus to the ongoing efforts towards mechanization and safety of workers, both Ministries jointly launched ‘NAMASTE’ (National Action for Mechanized Sanitation Ecosystem) Scheme to enhance occupational safety, improved access to safety gears and machines, provide skilled wage opportunities, and focus on continuous capacity building while breaking the intergenerationality of sanitation work.

Talking about the newly launched ‘NAMASTE’ Scheme, Shri R. Subrahmanyam highlighted the need for Municipal Corporations to lead all ‘SafaiMitra Suraksha’ initiatives. Highlighting the support that MoSJE would be providing, he said, “MoSJE will assist in the setting up Project Management Units (PMUs) that will be equipped with special resources and skilled professionals. Today, 128 out of 500 AMRUT cities have declared themselves as ‘SafaiMitra Surakshit Shehar’, tomorrow all 500 must become so. My request to all of you is to take this forward and make it a reality. Together we will succeed.”

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