Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit on Tuesday launched a project to provide shelter, education and other facilities to around 30,000 street and working children in the city.
Under the National Child Labour Project (NCLP), around 40 help centres and as many as 100 crèches are planned to be set up by Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
Ms. Dikshit said her government was deliberating on providing shelter and education to street children as well as those child labourers rescued from various industries and a detailed plan of action may be announced soon.
DCPCR officials said the project would be implemented with the support of civil society organisations like NGOs and various government departments.
The Census of 2001 had put the figure of child labour in Delhi at 41,899 but various NGOs working for child welfare have put the figure at 2.5 lakh, according to DCPCR.
Launching the programme, Ms. Dikshit called for a “convergent” approach while formulating policies for providing comprehensive support to children working as child labours.
“We need a comprehensive, convergent approach towards the issue. Apart from rescuing the children from bondages, we should also provide them with livelihood resources to empower them in true means,” Ms. Dikshit said.
“We are also looking into the possibilities of giving them some monthly financial assistance in line to the other pension schemes we have,” she told a gathering.
On child labourers in the city, Ms. Dikshit said a large number of children come to the metropolis from other states and her government was examining whether they could be sent back to their home states or can be provided accommodation and other facilities in Delhi.
“Children from outside (Delhi) constitute a large number of child labours in the city. We are looking into the possibilities of sending them back. We are also thinking whether we can give them some sort of support...can we give them hostels, residential schools where they can learn. We will sort out something...may be in a month or two, we will come out with a plan,” she said.
Minister for Women and Child Welfare Kiran Walia, Education Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely, Minister of Industries and Labour Ramakant Goswami and chairperson of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) Amod Kanth were present on the occasion.