Leadership for Social Impact: Perspectives from Safai Karmachari

Safai karamchari is a profession that may be found in every village and city in India.

There are 28,821 safai karamcharis recognised as regular workers in Mumbai (MCGM). CCleaning roads by hand is part of the job, and on pathways, gathering trash, putting it in communal trash cans and disposing of it in dumping grounds or waste compactors as well as landfill places.

According to the MCGM’s safai karamchari occupation research, about 90% of safai karamcharis are from the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Other Backward Classes. Mahar, Matang, Meghwal, Harijan, Valmiki, and Chambhar are the most numerous castes, while Kathewadi, Kunbi, Vadar, and Devendrakulathan are the least numerous. 

Safai karamcharis in Mumbai hail from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra, among other states in India. They are thought to have arrived in Bombay during the 1803 famine, which pushed a large number of people from the Konkan and Deccan to the city in search of work.

Safai karamcharis are prone to communicable and non-communicable illnesses because of their profession and addictions. The MCGM provided official data on fatalities during service. The 360 safai karamcharis were interviewed to learn about their socioeconomic and health status. 100 family members who had lost their breadwinners in the previous three years were questioned at their homes to determine the diagnosed reasons of death. Bacterial infections impact the skin, eyes, limbs, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems in Safai karamcharis.

The government should place a strong focus on education standardisation so that every child receives the same level of education. Children of safai karamcharis should receive special financial help from basic school through higher education.

One of the most important approaches for interrupting this vicious cycle is education. Karamcharis must be made more aware of the necessity of education. After retirement, provide medical benefits: After retirement, the health of safai karamcharis deteriorates, although they are now uninsured by the government. As a result, medical coverage should be maintained after retirement.

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