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Child labour rampant in city despite Govt ban

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Nov 13 � Eight-year-old Reboti has to get up early in the morning and walk a mile to Survey, Beltola to reach her master�s house for whom she has been working for the last two years. And on Monday too she would be sweeping and washing till late in the afternoon, unaware of the significance of November 14 as she has not been admitted to any school till now and no one has told her about this special day for children.

For hundreds like Reboti, Children's Day has no meaning because they would not be participating in any of the colourful functions nor will their employers give them the day off. According to a survey conducted by the Society for Social Transformation and Environment Protection, the capital city has an estimated 40,000 domestic workers and out of this 20.2 percent are 14 years or younger. The survey further says that 26.3 percent of the domestic workers are between the age of 15 and 18 years.

Though child labour has been banned by the Government of India, it is yet to be implemented in true spirit. It has become a common sight to see a child working in a garage, hotel and other business establishments, and under hazardous conditions as well.

�Some common causes of child labour are poverty, parental illiteracy, social apathy, ignorance, lack of education and burgeoning population. Child labour is associated with poverty and most working children come from poor families,� said Subash Koul, former director of SOS Children�s Village, Guwahati.

Koul added that the survival factor was forcing many parents to send their children to work at various odd-jobs.

It needs to be mentioned here that as per unofficial sources and surveys conducted by various non-government organizations, about 179 million children in India are employed in what has been termed as hazardous work which means work that is unsafe, unhealthy, or hazardous to the mental, emotional and physical development of the child.

�In other words, about one in every six children in the age group of 5 to 14 years is a child labour in the country and presently India is home to the largest number of child labourers on the planet,� said Koul with regret.

Koul pointed out that if child labour is to be eradicated, the governments and enforcement agencies need to be proactive and swift. �The most important step is to increase awareness and keep discussing ways to check these problems. We have all the policies and laws to eradicate child labour and the need of the hour is an earnest approach to the social malady,� said Koul.

Mentioning that the root cause of this problem was economic insecurity, Koul suggested that all authorities concerned need to work out a plan to help the parents of these children with skill development so that they can earn, and in turn spare the children for education.

What is unfortunate is that despite the legal provisions, there are very few cases of child labour reported in police stations or acted upon by the enforcement agencies. The conviction rate is so low that it is barely a deterrent for employers.

�Without strengthening the enforcement mechanisms and provisions for rehabilitation, making additions to the list of prohibited employment for children has little significance. Action should be taken against the people who employ children,� asserted Koul.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)

Child labour rampant in city despite Govt ban

GUWAHATI, Nov 13 � Eight-year-old Reboti has to get up early in the morning and walk a mile to Survey, Beltola to reach her master�s house for whom she has been working for the last two years. And on Monday too she would be sweeping and washing till late in the afternoon, unaware of the significance of November 14 as she has not been admitted to any school till now and no one has told her about this special day for children.

For hundreds like Reboti, Children's Day has no meaning because they would not be participating in any of the colourful functions nor will their employers give them the day off. According to a survey conducted by the Society for Social Transformation and Environment Protection, the capital city has an estimated 40,000 domestic workers and out of this 20.2 percent are 14 years or younger. The survey further says that 26.3 percent of the domestic workers are between the age of 15 and 18 years.

Though child labour has been banned by the Government of India, it is yet to be implemented in true spirit. It has become a common sight to see a child working in a garage, hotel and other business establishments, and under hazardous conditions as well.

�Some common causes of child labour are poverty, parental illiteracy, social apathy, ignorance, lack of education and burgeoning population. Child labour is associated with poverty and most working children come from poor families,� said Subash Koul, former director of SOS Children�s Village, Guwahati.

Koul added that the survival factor was forcing many parents to send their children to work at various odd-jobs.

It needs to be mentioned here that as per unofficial sources and surveys conducted by various non-government organizations, about 179 million children in India are employed in what has been termed as hazardous work which means work that is unsafe, unhealthy, or hazardous to the mental, emotional and physical development of the child.

�In other words, about one in every six children in the age group of 5 to 14 years is a child labour in the country and presently India is home to the largest number of child labourers on the planet,� said Koul with regret.

Koul pointed out that if child labour is to be eradicated, the governments and enforcement agencies need to be proactive and swift. �The most important step is to increase awareness and keep discussing ways to check these problems. We have all the policies and laws to eradicate child labour and the need of the hour is an earnest approach to the social malady,� said Koul.

Mentioning that the root cause of this problem was economic insecurity, Koul suggested that all authorities concerned need to work out a plan to help the parents of these children with skill development so that they can earn, and in turn spare the children for education.

What is unfortunate is that despite the legal provisions, there are very few cases of child labour reported in police stations or acted upon by the enforcement agencies. The conviction rate is so low that it is barely a deterrent for employers.

�Without strengthening the enforcement mechanisms and provisions for rehabilitation, making additions to the list of prohibited employment for children has little significance. Action should be taken against the people who employ children,� asserted Koul.

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— Dalai Lama(THIS IS STATIC)