‘Humble tribute to Mahatma Gandhi’: Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik launches scheme for sanitation workers
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik said while launching the scheme that despite several strides in various sectors in India, sanitation workers have been deprived of safety, dignity and decent livelihood, apart from suffering social stigma and exclusion.Updated: Sep 12, 2020, 12:48 IST
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has launched a scheme to improve the socio-economic condition and hone the skills of thousands of sanitation workers in the state.
Patnaik said while launching the scheme that despite several strides in various sectors in India, sanitation workers have been deprived of safety, dignity and decent livelihood, apart from suffering social stigma and exclusion.
“Our conscience can never be calmed if we don’t take steps to correct this injustice. My government has therefore decided to launch a scheme called Garima, a Scheme to ensure Safety and Dignity of Core Sanitation Workers,” Patnaik said on Friday, according to news agency PTI.
“Odisha’s Garima scheme is a humble tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary, who fought throughout his life for the rights, equality and social dignity of the underprivileged people,” he added.
Here is all about the scheme:
* The ‘Garima’ scheme will be implemented in all the 114 urban local bodies (ULBs) in Odisha and benefit about 20,000 core sanitation workers and their families.
* “A dedicated corpus fund of Rs 50 crore will be created, and a state commission for core sanitation workers will also be constituted,” Patnaik said.
* Pratap Jena, the state’s minister for housing and urban development, said the scheme is first of its kind by any state in India to provide a comprehensive package, institutionalizing and regulating the core sanitation services, providing service level benefits, social security and financial benefits to core sanitation workers and their families.
* A statewide survey under the new programme will identify workers engaged in core sanitation work, regulate sanitation service organisations, introduce a special wage category apart from other allowances.
* All core sanitation workers will receive training to improve their skills. They will also have access to counselling support to acquire new skills and financial support if they choose an alternative livelihood if they want to.
* The benefits also include the introduction of a special category of wages for core sanitation work, the introduction of risk and hardship allowance, financial assistance to the families in the event of accident or injury, financial support in the form of house grant and purchase of two-wheelers to the extent of 90% of the cost.
* Access to Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPF), retirement benefits, post-service benefits and illness allowance will provide further financial security to the core sanitation workers and their families.
* The government will also provide welfare benefits like health and life insurance, disability support, periodic health check-ups, housing, educational support, mobility support and mobile support.
(With agency inputs)