The Secretary for Ministry of Women and Child Development, Smt. Neela Gangadharan, said that collective action at the individual level along with efforts by civil society organisations strengthened by initiatives of the government are necessary to eliminate child labour in the country. She was speaking at the commemoration of the World Day Against Child Labour here, organised by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The theme for this year is “JUSTICE FOR CHILDREN-END CHILD LABOUR”. The aim of commemorating this day is to highlight the need to protect rights of the children and eliminate child labour and other violations of fundamental rights of children, in all forms.
The Secretary highlighted the problem of child labour in the country and said that it is a complex issue as it is linked with several inter-connected issues of poverty, unemployment, gender, and non-availability and non-accessibility of basic services in many rural areas. The Government of India through its various Ministries and Departments has framed legislations to prevent and eliminate child labour in all settings and in all forms. However, due to the multi-dimensional nature of this issue emerging primarily from socio-economic causes, child labour is still found to exist.
The Secretary outlined schemes of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, such as ICDS, SABLA, ECCE, and the Right to Education for the children which provide for growth and development of all children. She stressed on vocational education for the children which will lead to skill development and enable them to seek better opportunities of employment. She noted that skill development forms an active component of the SABLA scheme for adolescent girl child. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Bill 2012 will form a strong deterrent against child labour as very often children trafficked for child labour are also physically and sexually exploited, the Secretary informed the participants.
The Secretary also stated that eliminating child labour needs to form part of our collective consciousness and should be reflected in our daily behavior. She stressed on the important of community mobilisers of the civil society organizations at the grass roots level, noting that these agents work towards strengthening the community and have played an integral role in complementing the government’s efforts at the field levels.
Prof. Shantha Sinha, Chairperson, NCPCR and Dr. L. D. Mishra, former Principal Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Govt of India and currently Special Adviser North-East Cell, NCPCR also addressed the participants. Children who have been rescued and rehabilitated presented a nukkad natak on the issue of child labour.