It’s not hard to find tender hands of children as young as five washing utensils at roadside dhabas or girls below 14 working as domestic helps in India’s IT hub Bangalore. A new e—journal is being started in another effort to fight the menace.
The State Resource Centre (SRC) on Child Labour is all set to start the bi-monthly journal within the next three months.
“The idea behind the e-journal is to reach out to the educated population of the state that stands at around 70 percent, as per the 2001 census. We first want the educated people to get sensitised about the scourge of child labour and then help in eradicating the menace,” Deputy Coordinator of SRC Basavaraju K. told IANS.
“Internet penetration in Bangalore is as high as 80 percent and in the rest of Karnataka around 60 percent. So we want to reach out to the educated people of the state through the internet to arrest the spread of child labour,” added Mr. Basavaraju.
The centre is planning to have both Kannada and English versions of the e-journal and hopes to get articles from development professionals working in the field of eradicating child labour.
The recently formed SRC is supported by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Karnataka State Child Labour Eradication Project Society in the state’s Department of Labour.
“The primary aim of the centre is to work as a nodal agency that coordinates programmes being implemented to combat child labour through district societies. The centre will help network different organisations and activists working for child welfare,” informed Mr. Basavaraju.
“We hope the e-journal will further link all the agencies together to fight against child labour.”
According to the 2001 census, there were 12.7 million working children in India in the 5-14 year age group, with Uttar Pradesh recording the highest number at 1.93 million, closely followed by Andhra Pradesh with 1.36 million. Karnataka recorded 0.82 million child labourers, making it the seventh highest state in the country.
However, child rights activists say India currently has around 50 million child labourers. It has been more than two years since child labour was banned in India. But the practice is still on.
The notification on prohibition of employment of children as domestic help and in restaurants or roadside dhabas came into effect on Oct 10, 2006. Violators face jail for up to two years and a fine up to Rs.20,000.
“The e-journal will go a long way in helping to educate people about child labour and how employing children as labourers not only mars the holistic growth of a child but is detrimental to a nation at large,” said V Susheela, convener of the Karnataka chapter of the Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL), a nationwide network to eliminate child labour.