Faecal sludge and septage management in Uttarakhand: a review of the law and policy framework

A large percentage of urban Indians rely on on-site sanitation systems for managing their Faecal waste, in absence of public sewers. With an increase in the number of toilets due to initiatives such as the Swachh Bharat Mission, the issue of Faecal Sludge Management (‘FSM’) becomes increasingly important. A pertinent question that must be asked therefore, is if we have enough legal and regulatory safeguards in the area of Faecal Sludge Management, for ensuring safe and sustainable sanitation? This study, which covers the legal and regulatory frameworks governing FSM in the state of Uttarakhand is geared towards answering precisely this question. As Urban Local Bodies are constitutionally mandated to cover ‘Sanitation’, the study has been undertaken at the field-level in three districts in each state. The study aims at mapping the legal and regulatory framework governing sanitation, examining its’ various issues, and suggesting opportunities for regulatory reform. While recommendations for each state vary from each other, the authors have suggested an urgent need for institutional reforms, building capacities of Urban Local Bodies, and convergence between various departments engaged in FSM.