Odisha Channel Bureau
Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday launched a new scheme called GARIMA to ensure safety and dignity of core sanitation workers in Odisha.
With the launching of this scheme, the State manifested once again its commitment to eliminate inhuman and perilous sanitation practices and to improve socio-economic conditions of core sanitation workers.
“In spite of the nation making several strides in various sectors competing with the best in the world, these underprivileged people were made to render this invaluable service to the society for generations, deprived of safety, dignity and a 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,” said Patnaik while launching the scheme.
Speaking on the occasion, Housing & Urban Development Minister Pratap Jena said the scheme is first of its kind by any State in India to provide a comprehensive package – institutionalising and regulating the core sanitation services, providing service level benefits, social security and financial benefits to core sanitation workers and their families.
The scheme also brings an increased focus on enforcement of statutory provisions under various national and state legislations. Approximately, 20,000 core sanitation workers and their families with about one Lakh population will be benefitted from the scheme, said Jena.
The scheme aims to identify through state wide survey & register core sanitation workers, mandates registration of sanitation service providers, ensures provision of necessary machines and appropriate PPEs to ensure safe working conditions.
All core sanitation workers will receive skilling and training to improve their skills. Additionally, they will have access to counselling support to acquire new skills and financial support if they choose an alternative livelihood, if they wish so.
Some of the benefits include introduction of special category of wages for core sanitation work, introduction of Risk & 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.
In addition to this, access to EPF, retirement benefits, post service benefits and illness allowance will provide further financial security to the core sanitation workers and their families. The Government of Odisha will also provide welfare benefits like health and life insurance, disability support, periodic health check-ups, housing, educational support, mobility support and mobile support.
At the outset, G. Mathi Vathanan Principal Secretary, H&UD in his welcome address highlighted about the scheme. MoU was signed with Urban Management Centre which will provide technical support for implementation of the scheme.