State government has formulated plans to rehabilitate the rescued children
CHENNAI: Labour Minister T.M. Anbarasan said the government has intensified raids to check employment of children throughout the State and has formulated plans for the rehabilitation of children retrieved from labour.
Addressing a meeting organised by the Labour Department to commemorate Anti Child Labour Day here on Friday, Mr. Anbarasan said some of the children removed from hazardous and non-hazardous employment and rehabilitated by the State had gone on to score excellent marks in the 10th and 12th class examinations. He promised that the State would facilitate their higher education, too.
Earlier, he distributed cash awards to the three toppers in 10th and 12th class examinations. These children, who were taken out of hazardous and non-hazardous labour, first went to transit schools and were then re-integrated into the mainstream.
Certificates and cash prizes were also awarded to special education teachers and local body representatives who had tried to eliminate child labour in districts were appreciated. The award for the Best Collector went to C.Rajendran, Vellore district.
Principal Secretary, Labour, Prabhakar Rao, said the government was approaching the problem of child labour in a multi-pronged manner. Poverty alleviation schemes aimed at improving the financial status of parents would ensure that children were kept out of workforce. Proper implementation of laws relating to prohibition of child labour would add to the overall effect.
R. Vidyasagar, Child Protection Officer, UNICEF, said Tamil Nadu was one of the better States in the implementation of anti-child labour laws and policies. He said 20 years had passed since the UN Convention on Child Rights was signed, but the minimum age for employment in non-hazardous trades had not yet been specified by India. He suggested that Tamil Nadu take the lead in this area as well and set an example for the rest of the nation.
A. Sukumaran, Labour Commissioner, elaborated on the importance of observing the day. Mr. Anbarasan administered the anti-child labour oath.
In a statement, Child Rights and You (CRY), said only 15 per cent of India’s 17 million child labourers were covered by the ban. The NGO urged the government to renew its commitment to children. Sectors such as agriculture and unregulated factories employing children were still not covered.
The government should work at ensuring basic rights for every family – livelihood, food, shelter and healthcare – so that the pressure of poverty does not send children into the labour market. The release added that all children up to the age of 18 years must be banned from labour, irrespective of whether it is hazardous or non-hazardous.
Hand in Hand, a development organisation working in the area of child labour elimination, has been organising a series of awareness campaigns across Tamil Nadu. A mini-marathon titled ‘Run for the future’ for children was held on Friday to promote awareness about child labour. Nearly 1,000 students from the organisation’s residential bridge camps for out-of-school children and government and private schools in Chengalpattu, participated in the mini marathon.