Odisha launches ‘GARIMA’ for safety of sanitation workers

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today launched the ‘GARIMA’ scheme to  ensure the safety and dignity of core sanitation workers.

While launching the scheme to eliminate manual scavenging, the CM said, “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’ to ensure safety and dignity of core sanitation workers.”

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- institutionalizing 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, 20000 core sanitation workers and their families with about 1 lakh population will be benefited from the scheme.

The scheme aims to identify through statewide survey and 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.

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