Special Correspondent

‘Only that will ensure compliance by all employers’

‘There is lack of funding for crèches’

Bangalore: The Karnataka Government should formulate an Act to cover Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) and constitute a board under it to ensure that private employers and government agencies provide quality crèche facilities, said Nina Naik, former chairperson of the Child Welfare Committee.

Speaking at an open forum here on Friday organised by Sutradhar, an educational media resource centre, she said that only such an authority will have the statutory powers to ensure compliance by all employers and childcare agencies. In the absence of such a body, crèches were being run by government authorities — ranging from BBMP to Social Welfare Board — without vigilance.

Archana Mehandele, an independent researcher, said that though crèches are funded and run under the Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for Children, their numbers are only a fraction of the actual requirement. Karnataka had 877 creches as on February 2006, which is much lower than neighbouring States such as Andhra Pradesh, she added. There is a lack of funding for crèches too, she said and pointed out that the 11th Five Year Plan allocates only .03 per cent for child protection under which running of crèche falls.

Ashraya’s Nomita Chandy, who was the first to start crèches at construction sites in Bangalore, spoke of the new challenges in running a crèche at sites considering the changing composition of the workforce and conditions of work.

Survey

Speaking on crèches in garment industries in Bangalore, Benson Isaac of Samvada said a survey conducted recently by his organisation in 10 garment units had revealed that child care facilities were either completely absent or of very poor quality.

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