Child Labour Current Affairs - 2019
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India has ratified two key global conventions for combating child labour as a step towards creating full respect for fundamental rights at work.
India has deposited the instruments of ratification of the two fundamental ILO Conventions with the International Labour Office (ILO). The two key conventions are related to the elimination of child labour- the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No 138) and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182).
India has become the 170th member of ILO to ratify the Convention No. 138, which requires the member parties to set a minimum age under which no one should be employed in any occupation, except for light work and artistic performances.
India has become the 181st member of ILO to ratify Convention No 182 which requires state parties to prohibit and eliminate worst forms of child labour, including slavery, forced labour and trafficking; the use of children in armed conflict; the use of a child for prostitution, pornography and in illicit activities such as drug trafficking; and hazardous work.
The elimination of Child Labour from the country is also essential to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The ratification of these conventions will help in achieving Goal 8 of the sustainable development goals which aims at complete eradication of child labour by 2025 and calls for prohibition and elimination of its worst forms.
The government has recently amended the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 which came into effect in September 2016. This amendment prohibits employment of children below 14 years in any occupation or process. It also prohibits the employment of adolescents (14 to 18 years) in hazardous occupations and processes.
The government has also strengthened the National Child Labour Project. It is a rehabilitative scheme that provides bridge education and vocational training to adolescents.
According to a recently released CRY Report on child labour, more than 8 lakh children between the age group of 5 and 6 years in India are engaged in child labour.
Child Rights and You (CRY) is an NGO working towards the upliftment of underprivileged children. The organization got established in 1979 by Rippan Kapur.
As per the report, over 5 lakh children in India do not attend school. A majority of them are involved in family based employments.
Uttar Pradesh ranks first in the number of child labourers (2,50,672 children) in the country followed by Bihar (1,28,087 children) and Maharashtra (82,847 children).
The report has identified that the high level of poverty and unemployment along with a lack of adequate social security net are the important factors forcing children to work, compromising with their learning. These children are often forced to migrate with their parents and assist in family occupations such as working in brick kilns.
The report cites that the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) suffers many limitations and is now covering only 50% of the child labourers.
In the decade 2001-11, the working children in the age group of 10-14 years saw a reduction of 30% but the child labourers in the age group of 5-9 years have seen an increase of 37% from 2001.
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme implemented by the states/UTs. The Scheme was launched on 2nd October 1975. The scheme has the following objectives: to improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years; to reduce mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout; to promote policy coordination and implementation for promoting child development; to lay an adequate foundation for the psychological, physical and social well-being of the children etc.
Under the scheme, the services such as Supplementary nutrition; Pre-school non-formal education; nutrition and health education, immunization, health check-ups; and Referral services through Anganwadi Centres for children below 6 years of age as well as to pregnant women& lactating mothers are offered.