The 2011 Census pointed out that 47% of urban households continue to rely on forms of non-networked sanitation like private septic tanks and pit latrines. Moreover, anecdotal evidence indicates that many of the 42 lakh toilets constructed under the Swacch Bharat Mission (Urban) have been connected to on-site sanitation systems. Yet, this high prevalence of private infrastructure has not spurred cities to develop the institutional and physical capacity to safely collect, transport and treat septage. Consequently, much of this gap is filled by informal, small-scale enterprises with little oversight of their tariffs, protective measures, labour practices or dumping sites. Despite the ubiquity of informal service providers in the FSM sector, we have little more than anecdotal evidence about these enterprises and their operators. How do they enter this market? What are the profit margins and break-even points? What are the formal and tacit negotiations that take place between operators and customers? Can we define limits to scale for these enterprises?
To begin answering these questions, CPR undertook case studies of private septic tank operators across the four cities of Dehradun, Bhubaneshwar, Jaipur and two neighborhoods of Delhi. This seminar aims to initiate a broader discussion with multiple stakeholders on the potential for private sector participation in the sanitation value chain. This discussion would also seek to understand the ways and the extent to which local governments may regulate the sanitation market to improve the efficiency and accountability of such services while improving overall environmental outcomes.
Collective action (or not): The informal septic tank emptying markets in Delhi (Marie-Helene Zerah and Sweta Celine Xess)
FSM operation case studies from 3 cities: Findings and Insights (Tarun Sharma)
Understanding Small-Scale Desludging Operations: Synthesis and Way Forward (Anindita Mukherjee and Prashant Arya)
Marie - Hélène Zérah is a Research Fellow at CESSMA (Centre d'études en sciences sociales sur les mondes africains, américains et asiatiques) / IRD (Institute of Research for Sustainable Development) deputed to the Centre for Policy Research.
Sweta Celine Xess is a Research Associate with the Centre for Policy Research. She has pursued her Master's in Social Design from Ambedkar University, Delhi.
Tarun Sharma is Director and Co-founder of Nagrika, a social enterprise focused on the issues of small and mid-sized cities.
Anindita Mukherjee is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Research working in the project, Scaling City Institutions for India (SCI-FI): Sanitation. She is an economist by training from the University of Calcutta.
Prashant Arya is a Research Assistant with the Centre for Policy Research. He holds a B.A. in Economics and Philosophy from Swarthmore College.
The seminar is open to all. You are requested to RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org
CORP Seminar Series
This is the 14th in the series of the Community of Research and Practice (CORP) seminar series curated by the Scaling City Institutions for India: Sanitation (SCI-FI: Sanitation) initiative. This seminar provides a platform for discussing the experiences of the researchers and practitioners on urban sanitation. Through these discussions, the sanitation initiative will build a stronger evidence base for developing policies, programmes and implementation of plans for achieving sanitised cities.
Scaling City Institutions for India: Sanitation (SCI-FI): Sanitation is a research programme at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) on inclusive and sustainable urban sanitation. In the programme we seek to understand the reasons for poor sanitation, and to examine how these might be related to technology and service delivery models, institutions, governance and financial issues, and socio-economic dimensions. The programme seeks to support national, state and city authorities develop policies and programmes for intervention with the goal of increasing access to safe and sustainable sanitation in urban areas.