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  • The Union Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has announced that 500 cities across India have declared themselves as ‘SafaiMitra Surakshit Shehar’.
    • These cities have achieved adequacy in terms of institutional capacity, manpower and equipment norms as specified by MoHUA and are providing safe working conditions for SafaiMitras.
  • The ‘SafaiMitra Surakshit Shehar’ are also promoting sustainable sanitation practices and acting as a catalyst for the transformation of every ‘manhole’ into a ‘machine hole’.
  • To provide momentum to the ongoing efforts toward mechanization and safety of workers, the government has launched the ‘NAMASTE’ (National Action for Mechanized Sanitation Ecosystem) Scheme.

NAMASTE scheme

  • The Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs has announced the ‘NAMASTE scheme’ for cleaning sewers and septic tanks.
  • NAMASTE (National Action Plan for Mechanized Sanitation Ecosystem) Scheme is a joint venture between;
    • The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
    • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
    • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • The main objective of the scheme is to ensure;
    • Zero fatalities in sanitation work in India.
    • No sanitation workers come in direct contact with human faecal matter.
    • All Sewer and Septic tank sanitation workers have access to alternative livelihoods.
  • The Ministry has announced that;
    • They have shortlisted the types of machinery and core equipment required for maintenance works and Safety gear for Safai Mitras.
    • Skill Development and training of Safai Mitras to be conducted with the help of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment through the National Safai Karamchari Finance Development Corporation.