2nd April 2020
Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman
Honourable Union Finance Minister
Subject: Inclusion of sanitation workers including waste-pickers and informal waste collectors in the INR 50 lakh insurance cover programme rolled out for the health-care workers.
We the members of the Alliance of Indian Wastepickers, welcome the relief package announced by the Union Finance Ministry. For earning our livelihood, we waste-pickers and informal waste collectors have been keeping our cities and towns clean. In the times of COVID 19 pandemic, we are working diligently. We along with the other sanitation workers are the first lines of defence against the spread of the disease. This was mentioned by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on 19th March 2020.
However, as defenders, we run the risk of contracting the disease ourselves. Due to the nature of our work, our immunity suffers too. In the times of crisis, our work of waste management has been identified as other essential services which contribute to the better health of all citizens.
We request that we be recognized as health workers and all waste-pickers and informal waste collectors, as well as the sanitation workers, are included in the INR 50 Lakh insurance cover programme rolled out for the healthcare workers.
The eligibility for inclusion can be based on the occupational identity cards or the letters of employment issued by the municipal authorities and rural local bodies, trade unions, civil society organizations, resident and apartment welfare associations and the database of waste-pickers’ organizations and the relevant government bodies. The effort should be made in such a way that the inclusion in the scheme is universal and no exclusion of any waste-picker or informal waste collector be allowed.
We the waste-pickers and informal waste collectors request the government to give directions to the relevant departments, state governments and urban and rural local bodies for the satisfaction of our given demand.
Endorsed by the following organizations:
Center for Applied Research and People’s Engagement, Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Centre for Sustainable Development, Nagpur, Maharashtra
Dalit Bahujan Resource Centre, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh
Iainehskhem Self-help Group, Shillong, Meghalaya
Janvikas Society, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat, Pune, Maharashtra
Main Bhi Dilli Campaign, Delhi
National Coalition for Sustainable and Inclusive Development (NCU), Delhi
Rajasthan Kachra Majdoor Sangh, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Safai Sena, Delhi
Sarvoday Shramik Mahila Sakh Sanstha Maryadit, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
Stree Mukti Sanghatana, Mumbai, Maharashtra