Scaling City Institutions for India: Sanitation (Centre for Policy Research, India) - Updates from SCI-FI project

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Scaling City Institutions for India: Sanitation (Centre for Policy Research, India) - Updates from SCI-FI project

I am introducing a project in India here that is funded by the Gates Foundation and which consists of two phases and one supplementary grant. The information was sent to me by Shubhagato Dasgupta. The project aims to develop the evidence base around the importance of safe management of human waste in urban areas and new approaches that the government can take to make that happen. The research programme is studying cities in two different states: Udaipur in Rajasthan and Balasore in Odisha.

Title of grant: Scaling City Institutions for India: Sanitation

Name of lead organization: Centre for Policy Research
Primary contact at lead organization: Shubhagato Dasgupta, Senior Fellow
Grantee location: New Delhi, India
Developing country where the research is being carried out: India
Start and end date: Phase 1: 14.11.2012 to 30.11.2015, Phase 2: 09.11.2015 to 31.12.2018
Grant type (e.g. Global Challenges Explorations, Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, Other): Other
Grant size: Phase 1: $ 2,430,259 (as per BMGF grant database here ) and Phase 2: $ 3,183,202 (as per BMGF grant database here )

Short description of the project:

The Centre for Policy Research (CPR) has been one of India’s leading public policy think tanks since 1973. The Centre is a non-profit, independent institution dedicated to conducting research that contributes to a more robust public discourse about the structures and processes that shape life in India.

There are three main components of the project:

1. Scaling City Institutions for India: Sanitation (SCI-FI: Sanitation), Phase 1:
The research programme is studying cities in two different states- Udaipur in Rajasthan and Balasore in Odisha- to understand the reasons for poor sanitation and inform and support the state and city governments to pursue their goals of increasing access to safe and sustainable sanitation in urban areas.

2. SCI-FI Supplementary Grant, Project Nirmal:
Project Nirmal is a supplementary grant * of SCI-FI project and the overall vision of success of this project is the demonstration of sustainable sanitation service delivery for small towns leading to increased coverage of households through enabling institutional and financial arrangements and increased private sector participation. Duration of the project is January 2015-December 2017 and is implemented in Angul and Dhenkanal towns in Odisha. This project is being implemented with Practical Action on the ground in close collaboration with Housing and Urban Development Department of government of Odisha and ULBs of Angul and Dhenkanal. See also here: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/194-ci...olicy-research-india

* This is "supplementary" because it is still housed within the broader framework of the main SCI-FI Grant. The work and learnings from this supplementary action feed into the main project, particularly for state government engagement on sanitation service delivery city-wide in urban areas of Odisha. It is not a stand-alone project in itself.

3. Scaling City Institutions for India: Sustainable Sanitation (SCI-FI: II), Phase 2:
In the second phase of the SCI-FI project, the project will continue to develop the evidence base around the importance of safe management of human waste in urban areas and new approaches that the government can take to make that happen. It will also investigate key institutional issues for adoption, financing and scale-up of non-sewered urban sanitation solutions by the national and state governments in India. It will use innovative research instruments to understand operationalizing urban sanitation, faecal sludge management (FSM), safe waste handling, re-use and disposal, and the role of the government, regulatory frameworks, markets, and non-conventional finance.

Five research themes will be focused on in this project:
1. Urban governance in India with a focus on Water & Sanitation (WATSAN) structures
2. Policy research and analysis to support non-sewered sanitation adoption
3. Understanding economic, socio-cultural and gender issues in urban sanitation
4. Public accountability and finance issues in urban sanitation programmes
5. Non-conventional finance frameworks for sanitation

Goal(s):
  • Scaling City Institutions for India: Sanitation (SCI-FI: Sanitation): This programme aims to build a stronger evidence base for developing policies, programmes and implementation plans for achieving sanitized cities. Through research, SCI-FI: Sanitation aims to inform and support the formulation and implementation of the Government of India’s urban sanitation programs and investments.
  • SCI-FI Supplementary Grant, Project Nirmal: The project aims to achieve the demonstrated State Government and Urban Local Body (ULB) commitment towards sanitation service delivery in small cities; capacity development of states and cities for effective sanitation service delivery; increase number of people in pilot cities with access to better sanitation services; improve city-wide planning approaches for sanitation and demonstrate faecal sludge management models.
Objectives: Not provided

Research or implementation partners:

Practical Action for SCI-FI Supplementary Grant, Project Nirmal (see here on the forum: forum.susana.org/forum/categories/194-ci...olicy-research-india )


Links, further readings – results to date:

A range of publications are available on the project’s website (this includes briefs and report, articles in peer reviewed journals, book chapters, papers, Opinions & Op-Eds): www.cprindia.org/projects/sci-fi

Documents in SuSanA library:
www.susana.org/en/knowledge-hub/resource...library/details/3490

Project description in SuSanA project database:
www.susana.org/en/knowledge-hub/projects/database/details/195


Current state of affairs:

Phase 1 of the SCI-FI project is completed; Phase 2 has just started. As the project’s Phase 2 is in its initial phase the framework to take it forward is being developed. The current state of affairs of all project is grouped together below.
  1. Project Nirmal: MoU is signed between Government of Odisha, Centre for Policy Research and Practical Action.
  2. ULB resolutions for supporting FSM in two towns have been passed.
  3. Baseline survey in both cities has been completed. The report is being prepared. The baseline aimed to collect information on conditions and situation of sanitation in cities (households, institutions like hospitals, schools, markets) so as to design the project interventions to address challenges of urban sanitation.
  4. Research on understanding the socio-psychological attitudes and perceptions of different strata in the community towards handling and re-use of faecal waste and understanding the local agricultural market and the prospects for bio-fertiliser and energy use has been initiated in Angul.
  5. Sustained capacity building and skill upgradation of individuals are envisaged under the project through training of master trainers, development of knowledge and training resources and strengthening of the State Urban Development Agency (lead state govt agency for capacity building). A capacity building need assessment study was initiated both at the town level and at the state level to understand the situation of capacity building related to sanitation, assess the kinds of resource agencies providing support on capacity building in the state and key inputs required in terms of resources to augment the capacities in the state and ULBs.
Biggest successes so far: Not provided

Main challenges / frustration: Not provided

Community manager and chief moderator of this forum
funded via SEI project until January 2019 ( www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127 )

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant located in Brisbane, Australia
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @EvMuench
Sanitation Wikipedia project leader: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
My Wikipedia user profile: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:EMsmile
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Re: Redefining Universal Sanitation: A Gender Perspective

The Gender Taskforce on Sanitation organised a National Convention on “Redefining Universal Sanitation: A Gender Perspective” for collaboratively building a more nuanced understanding of key issues among critical stakeholders through first person narrative.

This day long deliberation was structured into two plenary and four key thematic sessions. The Convention kick-started with an Inaugural session followed by sessions on: (i) Gender Inclusion in Sanitation Services, (ii) Gender and Sanitation Livelihoods, (iii) Gender Budgeting in Public Sanitation (Parallel Session), (iv) Gender Responsive Design and Technology in Public Sanitation (Parallel Session) and, (v) Supporting Sanitation Sector Through a Gender Lens- Role of Development Partners.

The National Level Convention was a successful event owing to the joint efforts of all members of the Gender Task Force (GTF) on Sanitation- CFAR, CSTEP, PSI, and RTI who worked in solidarity with Anchor Partners- Centre for Policy Research and WaterAid India. The Gender Taskforce on Sanitation aims to serve as a platform for members to address issues that are a critical component of the ecosystem of solutions needed to integrate gender in the national sanitation agenda and across the entire sanitation value chain. The taskforce, co-anchored by Centre for Policy Research and WaterAid India, comprises of several WASH sector actors and is facilitated by Dasra.

It is hoped that the cross-sector learning outcomes and collaborative spirit kindled amongst relevant sector stakeholders through the entire day will eventually drive home some critical gender inclusive recommendations and on-ground work, to help achieve the target of access to sanitation for all.

SCI-FI (Scaling City Institutions for India) program at the Centre for Policy Research is currently working on urban sanitation.

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Re: Capacity Building Need Assessment of Cities (Angul and Dhenkanal) and State Government on Sanitation: A Case Study of Odisha

Although sanitation remains a focus in present government programmes and schemes (SBM and AMRUT), capacity building of ULBs and State Government on issues of sanitation has remained an area of neglect in most of the State and ULBs. The study on Capacity Building Need Assessment of cities (Angul and Dhenkanal) and state Government on Sanitation: A case of Odisha highlights systems of sanitation service delivery including septage /faecal sludge management in the cities and understand capacity gaps in the cities, both at the institutional and individual level in delivery of sanitation and inclusive urban planning. The study highlights issues of governance and challenges on the ground and provides recommendations for the capacity building on sanitation for the State and ULBs.

SCI-FI (Scaling City Institutions for India) program at the Centre for Policy Research is currently working on urban sanitation.

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Re: Podcast on Making Sanitation Work Safe and Eradicating Manual Scavenging

Manual scavenging has emerged as one of the biggest challenges of sanitation in India. In very simple terms, manual scavenging is work that involves directly handling raw or partly treated human excreta. Historically, this practice was associated with ‘dry latrines’, in which fresh excreta is lifted manually, and on a daily basis.

We have not as yet completely eradicated dry latrines, even though it has been banned since 1993, but in the meantime, many newer forms of sanitation infrastructure have proliferated, which also involve unsafe sanitation work and often manual scavenging. This includes the work of cleaning septic tanks, latrine pits, drains and sewerage systems, and also in cleaning railway tracks and other open defecation spots where sanitation workers directly interface with faecal matter. All of this work is prohibited under the manual scavenging law, as we have pointed out in our policy brief Manual Cleaning of Sewers and Septic Tanks. This work as it is performed currently, is also degrading and humiliating, and has a long association with caste discrimination.

We also now have an understanding of manual scavenging as extremely hazardous work that kills its workers. According to a recent estimate by the National Commission of Safai Karamcharis, 123 people have died in cleaning sewers and septic tanks since 1 Jan 2017, which adds up to one death in every five days. Official numbers estimate that approximately 53,000 people are engaged in manual scavenging work, but other estimates, such as from Dalberg, suggest that as many as 5 million people are engaged in some form of manual scavenging work. It is also worth pointing out here that unsafe sanitation work and manual scavenging is almost an everyday practice – safety norms and protocols are routinely flouted in cleaning and maintenance services – and this includes sanitation infrastructure in the most upmarket hotels, commercial complexes and gated communities, in publicly managed sewerage systems, and in private septic tanks, which proliferate across urban India.

Meanwhile there are severe inadequacies in our legal and institutional response, which need urgent attention. In our podcast, we try to disentangle some of the issues around unsafe sanitation infrastructure and the reasons why our current infrastructure cleaning and management practices are killing people. These deaths are largely on account of poisonous gases that accumulate in closed septic tanks, sewer lines and in sewerage treatment facilities. Much of this work could be significantly mechanised: emptying work in septic tanks should be carried out by vacuum tankers, and limited problem-solving human interventions in sewerage systems should be carried out by highly trained people, following protocols to ensure that their intervention is limited and made entirely safe.

Faecal Sludge Management

In our work on sanitation in non-sewered areas, we emphasise that Faecal Sludge Management (FSM) interventions are needed to squarely address the challenge of establishing safe and hygienic systems for management of our sanitation infrastructure. At the same time, we need deep and systematic reform in the management of sewerage systems, to ensure that no worker is made to do dangerous sanitation work. Our current work on sanitation in CPR, under the Scaling City Institutions for India project (SCIFI) is focused on FSM, which has the potential to address the sanitation needs of 60% of our urban population and an even larger and growing proportion of the population in non-urban areas, who currently live in non-sewered areas and rely on septic tanks for their sanitation needs. For safe and improved FSM services however, states and cities implementing FSM need to articulate and implement a coherent FSM plan that emphasises the elimination of manual scavenging and dangerous sanitation work as a central objective. And on our part, we need to continuously engage with the issue, understand the reasons for its persistence, and hold our governments, our residents’ associations and ourselves to account for its complete eradication.

Listen to the full Centre for Policy Research podcast, ThoughtSpace ( From Here ) featuring Senior Fellow, Shubhagato Dasgupta and Fellow, Arkaja Singh, talking about deaths due to manual scavenging.

SCI-FI (Scaling City Institutions for India) program at the Centre for Policy Research is currently working on urban sanitation.
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Re: Beyond 2019: Why Sanitation Policy Needs to Look Past Toilets

In the four years since the Swacch Bharat Mission (SBM) was launched over 30 lakh urban toilets have been built and a further 30 lakh are planned to be built by the program’s deadline in 2019. As the deadline approaches, the government is investing in infrastructure, institutions and monitoring processes that can sustain the gains made through SBM. This brief lays out the current inadequacy of wastewater and faecal sludge management in India and argues for a continued focus on the entire sanitation value chain. Using data from several sources, we indicate a diversity of factors that could inform the choice of sanitation infrastructure in various local contexts and help develop a decision-making framework for sanitation stakeholders.

SCI-FI (Scaling City Institutions for India) program at the Centre for Policy Research is currently working on urban sanitation.

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Re: SCI-FI report on Manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks

Dear all,

We are happy to share the SCI-FI report on Manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks

In December 2013, the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act (“the Act”) was notified by the Central Government. The Act is a Parliamentary law, binding on all states. While an earlier 1993 law prohibited the employment of manual scavengers and construction of dry latrines, the strength of the new Act is that it brings hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks under its ambit. This brief focuses on the legal environment for manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks, a practice that has led to many deaths, most recently in Delhi, the national capital. Drawing on the Act and associated Rules, it examines the existing legal framework, and poses the following questions:
What are the circumstances in which manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks is permissible?
How is manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks to be carried out safely?
What are the penal consequences of hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks?
Who is responsible for enforcement of the Act?

Kind regards,
SCI-FI Team
CPR, New Delhi
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Re: CORP seminar series: Sustainable Water Resource and Sanitation Management

On the occasion of World Toilet Day on 19th November 2018, Centre for Policy Research (CPR) in collaboration with Vidya Bhawan Society organised a seminar on 'Sustainable Water Resource and Sanitation Management' in Udaipur. This was the 16th seminar in the Community of Research and Practices seminar series organised by the SCI-FI project.

This seminar was attended by researchers, practitioners, CSOs, and private partners including representatives from Udaipur Municipal Corporation, Urban Improvement Trust and Town Planning Department.

The seminar had two thematic sessions. The first session focused on safe sanitation and waste water reuse. Neelima Khetan, Group CSR Head for Vedanta Resources, Vice President, CSR, Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL) highlighted that the strength of corporates lies in managing waste water and partnering with competent bodies. This can be leveraged to build capacities of Urban Local Bodies through strategic interface of private partners, government, civil society actors, and community stakeholders. She emphasised on the fact that corporates can strengthen ties with the grassroot community. Considering that Udaipur has a high dependence on on-site sanitation system, Ambarish Karunanithi, Senior Research Associate, CPR emphasised on the need for sustainable solution for non-sewered networks in Udaipur. He also discussed about the partnership with HZL to support Udaipur Municipal Corporation (UMC) to improve sanitation systems in Udaipur. Abhinav Kumar, Research Associate from Vidya Bhawan Society sighted that norms and beliefs play a critical role in determining sanitation choices of the household. He stated access to toilet is not the same as access to sanitation, taking in account the sanitation market scenario in particular. Anju Dwivedi, Senior Researcher, CPR highlighted the need to involve community to improve urban sanitation.

In the second session titled 'Sustainable Urban Water Management', Dr Anil Mehta, Principal, Vidya Bhawan Polytechnic presented on Integrated Water Resource Management in Udaipur. He defined Integrated Water Resource Management as a mechanism that promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and related resources in order to maximise the resultant economic and social welfare in an equitable manner. Dr PK Singh, Professor, Maharana Pratap University of Agriculture and Technology shared lessons of empowering communities through participatory Ground water management at village level through Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustainable Groundwater Use through Village-level Intervention (MARVI) project. Drawing lessons from the rural landscape, he focused on participatory water shed management and hoped this model can be upscaled in the urban context as well.

Background note and the agenda for the seminar can be accessed here .

SCI-FI (Scaling City Institutions for India) program at the Centre for Policy Research is currently working on urban sanitation.
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