Discourage child labour in Arunachal: GenNext

  • Wake up call for those who matter

By Pradeep Kumar

ITANAGAR, Jan 21: Tribal dominated Arunachal Pradesh should discourage child labour at all cost as present children are future citizens of India, said a few youths (GenNext) based on their survey.

Their reaction came after working on an assignment to conduct survey to assess status of child labour in Capital Complex that indicted very young children of both sexes found working in garages, restaurants, shops and various establishments besides as domestic helps.

Though engaging minor children in any work is illegal and punishable, but findings of the survey, assigned by National Youth Project president H P Biswas during their internship, were disgusting, said Gepa Debom Tamin, Yukar Zen, Bansuklin Sohshang and Dana Anu. They all are 2nd year bachelor of social work students of Don Bosco College.

GenNext with NYP president

Expressing deep concern, they said that child labour amounts to depriving them of their childhood by exploiting them mentally, physically and morally. They explained categories of boys and girls, whom they saw, engaged as labour, mostly of school going ages and their helpless working conditions.

Regrettably, the law enforcing agencies have turned their blind eyes to such illegalities practiced even in state capital, said Sohshang, responding quickly to questions, who was supplemented by her friends.

“The child labour scenario is inhuman but we are helpless to do anything being students”, Sohshang said in remorse, adding parents of such children are equally at fault. She expressed here hope that their survey reports would draw attention of state’s authorities concerned to act and save future of those children engaged as child labour in Capital Complex, if not across the state.

The Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, amended in 2016 as CLPR Act, which prohibits employment of a child in any employment, including as a domestic help. The CLPR Act defines a child as any person below the age of 14.

The child labour incidences decreased globally from 25% to 10% between 1960 and 2003, as per World Bank data while the UNICEF and ILO estimated worldwide child labourers aged 5–17 to be 168 million in 2013.

The Labour & Employment Ministry’s child labour division notes that “Children are a valuable asset for any society. They constitute a very large segment of our population. As per 2011 Census, the persons below the age of 14 years accounted for 29% of total population while those in 14-18 years age group account for 10%. The child’s natural place is at school and the playground. However many children are unfortunately denied these basic development opportunities in childhood. They instead get burdened with work because of poverty, irregular income streams for the family, economic shocks, ignorance, lack of access to social security, education, health facilities, food security etc.

The ILO’s World Report on Child Labour-2013 had observed that child labour can compromise the productive capacity of workers during adulthood and thereby constrain both national economic growth and efforts to reduce poverty.

Recognizing that child labour is the outcome of multiple causes and has multiple dimensions, GoI enacted law (1986) and prepared national policy on child labour (1987) to tackle the problem with a multi-pronged approach. The important pillars of the national policy on the elimination of child labour are: Legislative action plan & its strict enforcement; convergence of GoI developmental programmes and implementation of National Child Labour Project Scheme in the areas of high concentration of child labour.

But regrettably, these provisions are seemingly ineffective in Arunachal Pradesh for which child labour problem is visible. It is time for those who matter to wake up from their deep slumber.

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