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Safai Karamcharis Andolan on Budget Promise on Sewage System

By India

“[The] budget fails to take notice of hundreds of deaths taking place in sewers or septic tanks, all these years, whereas we at Safai Karamchari Andolan have been demonstrating on the streets daily for the last 264 days in various parts of the country, demanding to put a complete halt on deaths taking place in sewers and septic tanks. Ironically, since we started this #StopKillingUs campaign on May 11, 2022, there have been more than 50 deaths of Indian citizens inside sewers and septic tanks. But, governments are mum on that.”

Safai Karamcharis Andolan responded to the Union Budget for 2023-2024 with a press release and a video. The organisation raised the issue of the SRMS (rehabilitation scheme) being removed from the budget and merging with the ‘NAMASTE’ scheme which only allocates budget for producing sewage cleaning machines, but not for the people.

The question was raised of why the human element has been lost and how the people themselves will be supported to step out of this work.

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Stop Killing Us!: Over 150 days of campaigning to end the needless deaths of sanitation workers

By Campaign, Global Inequalities, India

Casteism and untouchability still decide the social structure in the larger part of the country. For them development is just a superficial myth.”

Members of Safai Karmachari Andolan – a movement of people engaged in or formerly engaged in manual scavenging that spans across India, have been campaigning every day for over 150 days. The campaign, called “Stop Killing Us” aims to bring attention to the often ignored, under-reported issue of deaths of sanitation workers who regularly die from exposure to noxious gases in sewers and septic tanks. This work is carried out by people who feel they have no economic alternative. SKA is calling for contractors and municipalities to take responsibility, for governments to make use of machinery compulsory for such work, and for proper rehabilitation and support to be provided for people to transition to dignified livelihoods with living wages. Read more here and follow the ongoing campaign updates on Twitter here (#StopKillingUs).

Interview to Safai Karmachari Andolan’s director Bezwada Wilson

By India

On 30 March 2022, Safai Karmachari Andolan’s director Bezwada Wilson was interviewed by the Indian TV channel Mirror Now.

“People feel bad for few minutes and later everybody forgets and move on. We shouldn’t keep quite anymore.”
(Click here to watch the video)

“We have no idea whether to collect, manage or dispose the garbage. We are throwing sewage water everyday in Yamuna, without even treating it.”
(Click here to watch the video)

On the need for attention to Safai Karmacharis within Dalit literature

By India

Omprakash Valmiki had written ‘Aesthetics of Dalit Literature’ to answer those upper caste critics who pointed out the lack of craftsmanship in Dalit literature. Among his stories, ‘Amma’, ‘Biram Ki Bahu’, ‘Salaam’, ‘Pachis Chauke Dedh Sau’ etc. are remarkable stories. Apart from being a writer, Omprakash Valmiki was also a playwright and actor and theater director.

Read the full article

“We’re trying to send missions to Mars, but don’t harness tech to stop manual scavenging”

By India

Expressing serious concern over the persistence of manual scavenging in 22 states of India, social activist and National Convener of the Safai Karamchari Andolan, Bezwada Wilson said that his mission would not be over until manual scavenging is fully eliminated. Referring to the plight of women who are forced to persist in manual scavenging for earning their daily bread, Wilson, while inaugurating a new centre at RV University,  expressed deep pain and declared that he would not rest until last woman who is engaged in cleaning dry toilets is liberated.

Read the full opinion piece (via Edex Live)

Webinar – Inequalities, Public Services and Tax Justice

By Events, Global Inequalities

Participants to the Webinar – Inequalities, Public Services and Tax Justice made the sign for equality to cap off a two-hour session that brought together organizations and communities in the frontlines of fighting inequalities and most affected by failing public services and loss of public revenues due to flawed fiscal and tax systems. Over 110 attended the webinar, and learnt about how to strengthen campaigns on tax and fiscal justice especially in light of developments in global, regional, and domestic policy-making.

The webinar aimed to:

• Surface some of the most pressing issues faced by marginalised sectors and communities in the context of failing public services and deepening inequalities;

• Highlight the systemic barriers to making public services accessible and responsive to people’s needs and rights, drawing the links to gaps and flaws in fiscal and tax systems;

• Discuss and collectively analyze key developments in national, regional, and global policy fronts that impact inequalities and people’s access and right to public services; and,

• Facilitate sharing of strategies for advancing tax and fiscal justice agenda, with a focus on public services.

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