No dependable data available on migrant labourers in State
A workshop on ‘Issues and Challenges of Children of Migrant Labourers in Kerala’ has expressed concern over poor enrolment of children from migrant families.
Addressing the workshop at the Kerala Institute of Local Administration Kerala (KILA), Akhila, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation specialist, UNICEF office for Tamil Nadu and Kerala, said cultural and language barriers were the major hurdles for the education of children of migrant labourers.
She called upon the various departments concerned to provide adequate facilities for the education of children of inter-State migrant workers.
While the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 prohibits engaging children below the age of 14 in labour and the Right of Children To Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009 makes it mandatory to ensure the enrolment of children in the 6-14 age group and their attendance in schools.
“In many cases though the children are enrolled in the schools it becomes difficult to keep track of them once a family migrates,” a few speakers noted.
Activists urged that the government should establish residential schools for the benefit of children of labourers who frequently migrated to other States for work.
The workshop pointed out that there was no dependable data on the number of migrant labourers in the State.
The Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act (1979) was explicitly enacted to prevent migrant workers from being exploited.
Under the Act, labour contractors are required to obtain a licence from the government concerned authorising them to recruit and employ migrant labour from one State to another.
Legally, any establishment employing more than five inter-State migrant workmen is required to register under the provisions of the Act. But these rules are not followed properly, the workshop noted.
The workshop was organised by the UNICEF in association with the Child Resource Centre at the Kerala Institute of Local Administration.
Vidhyasagar, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF office for Tamil Nadu and Kerala; representatives from Labour Department, Child Welfare Committees, Kerala Women’s Commission, local bodies, Police, media, and voluntary organisations participated in the meeting.