Privatization of municipal waste management services in Uttar Pradesh - Need documented case studies and project reports on this issue

From Vandana Tripathi, Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra, Lucknow

Posted 27 July 2009

I work with Sahbhagi Shikshan Kendra in Uttar Pradesh on Municipal Solid Waste Management. I am working on a research project based on exploring opportunities in privatisation of municipal service delivery in general and municipal solid waste in particular. The urban waste and sanitation sector in India is suffering from inadequate levels of service, an increasing demand-supply gap, poor sanitary conditions and deteriorating financial and technical performance. Recognition is growing that innovative partnership between diverse stakeholders including NGOs, business; Civil Society, labour unions and inter-governmental institution can help to bring out concrete results. The study is exploratory to seek some critical inputs for assessing the implications of privatisation as a process both upon profit (revenue) and people (labour particular Conservancy staff/sweepers).

Privatisation promises to fulfil the unmet needs and bring in opportunities to foster partnership between private sector and government. There are various models being adopted and invented. Literature reveals that Bengaluru (Bangalore) Municipal Corporation was one of the pioneers to have initiated this process.  Much has been written about the success on profitability of such ventures, however very little has been documented about the implication on workers and their working conditions.

I therefore request members of the Decentralization and Water Communities to please share with me the following:

  • Experiences from the field, which show a clear impact of the Privatization drive in Municipal Corporations in terms of efficiency and effectiveness
  1. Efficiency as understood as costs reduction over a significant period of time
  2. Effectiveness as understood through extension of services to earlier un-served areas or increased user satisfaction
  • What are the possible changes/shifts observed in the labour conditions (wages, occupation health and safety) among the three service providers viz. public, private and NGO
  • Case Studies, Field Projects and other documentation on this issue

This information is vital to further validate arguments “favouring or non-favouring” privatization as an answer to “ineffective local governance”.

Please see attachment below for the responses.