Moving picture on child labour

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GRABBING ATTENTION: District authorities plan to put this poster of a child labourer all over the city to arouse people's consciousness.
GRABBING ATTENTION: District authorities plan to put this poster of a child labourer all over the city to arouse people's consciousness.

J.S. Ifthekhar

Authorities take ILO help to drive home the message

Parents who send children to work to be denied benefits of State schemesILO recently approved a Rs. 3-cr. project for elimination of child labourNumber of child labourers put at 25,000

Hyderabad: School and education are farthest from her mind. Her immediate task is to scrub clean the utensils around her and get ready for the next chore. A picture of innocence that pulls at heart. Very soon the City will be awash with this moving poster of the cute little girl.

The district administration is taking the battle for elimination of child labour right into people's hearts. It is going to coax, plead and coerce them to stop robbing the kids of their childhood. And in this Herculean task, the authorities have the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on their side.

In a change of tact a carrot and stick policy will be adopted. Parents who let their children slog will forfeit benefits accruing from government schemes while those who withdraw the kids from workplace will enjoy them. No child in the school-going age should work at the cost of education. That's going to be the thumb rule. "We will also put social pressure on families employing children to create awareness," said Hyderabad Collector Arvind Kumar.

The ILO has recently approved a Rs. 3-crore project for elimination of child labour. During the next three years focussed strategies will be implemented to root out the menace in its entirety. The city has some 60,000 child labour in the 6-15 age group. They include child labour in traditional sectors, domestic child labour, dropouts, street children, beggars and children who are at risk. The domestic child labour number around 25,000, including some 15,000 girls.

The authorities plan to focus on domestic child labour who are more often bonded child labour. Most of them are acquired from their parents for a pittance and made to slog. The situation of girls is more pathetic as they are often sexually abused by their employers. Girls are also preferred as they toil for long hours, eat less and do all kinds of work, it is said.

The urban child labour is a dynamic phenomenon with the number of children as also the work they do frequently changing. Therefore, it is planned to enumerate them with the help of NGOs. It is also proposed to identify 100 child empowerment mobilisers.



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