Provide access to healthcare, reservation in schools: study
A recent study carried out by the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP), University of Mysore, mooted reservation in government services for communities traditionally engaged in sanitation works.
It should be done on the lines of reservation provided for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, the study, ‘An analysis of socio-economic conditions of pourakarmikas in Mysore district’, said.
There should be reservation for children of pourakamikas in schools and colleges so that their literacy level improves. The services of sanitation workers working on a temporary basis or on contract for more than 10 years should be regularised. Ramesh, Director, CSSEIP, told The Hindu that the report was yet to be submitted to the State government through the Directorate of Social Welfare.
The study talks about the health of sanitation workers who work in unhygienic conditions.
Pourakarmikas should be given access to healthcare and a complete check-up should be held once in six months. Authorities like the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) should provide basic amenities such as roads, water, underground drainage, electricity connections, and toilets in their localities.
The study said that most importantly, steps were needed to educate them about the importance of hygiene, safe drinking water and sanitation. Health insurance played an important role in the lives of the pourakarmikas. But, those employed on a temporary basis did not have access to health insurance. Their profession must be considered hazardous and they should be treated with respect, the study said.
In another significant recommendation, it stated that pourakarmikas should be provided equipment and safety gear so that they can discharge their duties properly and safely.
However, though the MCC has provided safety gear, many pourakarmikas work without wearing gloves, shoes, masks or overcoats. Prof. Ramesh also suggested that microfinancing through self-help groups be introduced. Despite the government’s efforts towards financial inclusion, many are still left out.