Odisha CM launches ‘GARIMA’ scheme for safety, dignity of sanitation workers

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday launched GARIMA scheme for safety and dignity of core sanitation workers engaged in core sanitation services in urban areas of the state.

The GARIMA scheme will be implemented by the Housing & Urban Development Department through 114 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) of Odisha. A Rs 50 crore corpus fund will be constituted for the education, health and housing needs of the kin  sanitation workers , the Chief Minister said.

Sanitation workers have been at the bottom of the social and economic ladder who suffer from untold miseries and huge social stigma.

Dedicating the scheme, the Chief Minister said, “It is a humble tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary who had been fighting throughout his life for the rights of equality and social dignity of this underprivileged people.”

,“Manual scavenging has been the starkest example of discrimination in the name of caste practiced in India, relegating the less privileged to perform the sanitation work handling human faecal matter,” he added.

“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 generational injustice. My government has therefore decided to launch a scheme called Garima for safety and dignity of core sanitation workers,” said Patnaik.

GARIMA paves way for inclusive development of these core sanitation workers by ensuring essential working rights and benefits for them as well as their families. It is directed at promoting livelihoods, security and social dignity of sanitation workers through targeted measures.

Employees’ Provident Fund, retirement benefits and post service benefits such as “Family Pension” are also listed under the provision of the scheme.

On his part, 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 Housing & Urban Development Department has signed an MOU with the Urban Management Centre, for providing the technical support to implement the scheme.


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