World Day Against Child Labour 2020: Importance in COVID 19 hit India Every year 12th June is celebrated as the World Day Against Child Labour by International Labour Organisation.
P N Bhagawati, the former Chief Justice of India once said that “The child is a soul with a being, a nature and capacities of its own, who must be helped to find them, to grow into their maturity, into a fullness of physical and vital energy and the utmost breadth, depth and height of its emotional, intellectual and spiritual being; otherwise there cannot be a healthy growth of the nation.”
Every year 12th June is celebrated as the World Day Against Child Labour by International Labour Organisation. World Day Against Child Labour 2020 translates a campaign theme “COVID-19: Protect children from child labour, now more than ever!”
- Almost one in ten of all children worldwide is a victim of child labour menace.
- There is UN Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 that calls for an end to child labour in all its forms by 2025.
- Africa ranks highest in the world both in the percentage of children in child labour i.e. one-fifth and the absolute number of children in child labour i.e.72 million.
- 84 million child labour, accounting for 56% of all child labour, actually live in middle-income countries.
Background of Child Labour in Indian Society
The Child Right Act, 1992 and the Child Labour Act, 2000 prohibit the children below 18 years of age in organized or unorganized economic sectors. Engagement of children in working sector would be detrimental to their mental and physical growth, deprives them of the right to education, physical and mental wellbeing.
Many children from poor family were forced into the manufacturing industries as labours. They were obliged as they were out of options. They were also forced to work for longer hours without the payment for overtime work they did.
The Child Labour Act 2000
The Child Labour Act 2000 strictly prohibits the engagement of children in occupations like
- Tourism service
- Public transportation
- Construction work relating to manufacturing
- Production of energy from water resources, air, sunlight, coal, natural oil or gas, biogas
- Transmission and distribution sector
Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986
Addressing the problem of child labour in India, the Parliament of India passed ‘The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986’. This Act declared child labour as an illegal activity and made it punishable act by any citizen of India. The Act has been enacted as an umbrella upon child labour from the abusive activities from the society. However, in spite of such laws the situation is not transparent either.
National Child Labour Project
- The National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme is a Central Sector Scheme.
- The District Project Societies (DPS) are set up at the district level under the Collector/District Magistrate for overseeing the implementation of the project.
- The children in the age group of 9-14 years will be withdrawn from labour activity and put into NCLP Special Training Centres. They are provided with education, vocational training, mid-day meal, stipend, health care etc.
- The children of 5-8 years will be directly put into the formal education system through Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
- This scheme will act as the catalyst of enforcement of the Child Labour Act. A dedicated online portal named PENCiL (Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour) ihas been launched to make the NCLP successful through proper monitoring and implementation. It will also ensure the timely disposal of scheme targets with transparency.
- Under this Scheme, funds are provided directly to the District Project Societies who in turn engage and allocate the funds to NGOs/Voluntary Agencies/Civil Societies Organisation etc. for running of Special Training Centres.
Note: Know the difference between central sector and centrally sponsored scheme
There are two types of schemes
- Central sector
- Centrally sponsored scheme
Central sector scheme is 100% funded by the Union government and implemented by the Central Government.
Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) Here the percentage of the funding is divided between the States and Union government in the ratio of 50:50, 70:30, 75:25 or 90:10 and the implemented by the State Governments.
COVID 19 and Child labour Crisis
The COVID-19 health pandemic has already created a huge recession in global economy. India is no exception. Rather the situation in India is much severe than other developing nations. labour market is completely trembled. Labours are losing their job and incomes. Some states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh are diluting labour laws. Their rights are being taken away; they are being forced to work for 12 hours instead of 8 hours. These states are taking amoral and perverse steps in the name of boosting economic activity.
Steps to be taken to combat Child labour
- Parental awareness is the key. Lack of understanding of parents creates path for child traffickers. Awareness campaigns should be launched specially in remote and border villages. This might help parents to know about growth, education, employment, and enterprise opportunities.
- Stringent laws and proper implementation-With the proper implementation of Children Against Sexual Offences Act (2012) and Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, leads to increased convictions and demonstrated how a stringent and proper implementation can curb child trafficking.
- Access of quality education of all age group of children-A series of initiatives like providing quality education, health care, focus on school drop-out children, monitoring children mental states could be significant to boost children’s enrollment in schools.
- Discouraging people to employ children by introducing Universal basic income-Universal Basic Income could be introduced to discourage people to employ children in places like shopping malls, manufacturing sectors or in markets.
- In country like India government policies and schemes are implemented by various NGOs or government officials. But the problems like Child labour, child abuse and undernourishment must also be addressed at an individual level in our society.What an individual can do to fight this social curse?
- When an individual witness such activity he/she can inform it local police station or Collector/District Magistrate.
- Awareness activity could be created by using social networks.
- They can even contact NGOs like Save the Children or Children India Foundation.
- The Childline number(1098) can be contacted.
- Complain here over PENCil Portal https://pencil.gov.in/Complaints/add
Children are the supreme asset of a Nation and Child labour is a significant problem in India. In order to save our asset from the crisis of child labour we need to find the root cause. There are two root cause. First root cause is lack of standard primary education. The primary education should be made compulsory and thus it would be elemental in providing equal opportunities for development to all children
And second root cause is the poverty.If poverty is addressed at root level, the demand of child labour will automatically diminish. Only then will India succeed in the battle against child labour.