Academics for `social net' to eradicate child labour

Disagreement with district administration's claim of success

Staff Reporter

TIRUCHI: Academics have disagreed with the district administration's claim of success in eradicating child labour.

Citing the data gathered by research scholars, they said the claim was contrary to the ground reality of persisting child labour, owing to reluctance of the Government machinery to provide a social net. The officialdom ought to deal with the issue taking into consideration its socio-economic dimensions, and by providing alternative means for livelihood, they opined.

At the inaugural of a UGC Sponsored State-level seminar on `Socio-Economic Dimensions of Child and Women Labour' organised by the PG and Research Department of Economics, Jamal Mohamed College, here on Tuesday, the academics were also critical of the gender-discrimination in labour market, and felt globalisation of Indian economy was leading to joblessness.

Inaugurating the seminar and delivering the keynote address, the Vice-Chancellor of Bharathidasan University, C. Thangamuthu, called for focus on social dimensions of economic growth also rather than on its magnitude alone. Referring to the unhealthy syndrome of socially inherited gender disparity, which, he said, was prevalent without the stigma of discrimination, the Vice-Chancellor warned that this factor would push down the Human Development Index of India further from its present 127th (out of 177 countries) position.

All the same, researchers should be wary of bias and pursue objectivity while compiling data. While researchers should steer clear of gender disparity amongst themselves too, women researchers should restrain from going overboard in magnifying and generalising crude facts. Labour market segmentation (associating men with high paid jobs, and women with low paid works), rather than gender disparity itself was the cause for wage differential, he observed, adding that in general, the situation now was not friendly to secure employment.

Underdeveloped countries have to be circumspect in dealing with the problems of child labour, for elimination of the menace in toto without social net would lead to large-scale starvation and deaths. Likewise, discriminating women would have an adverse effect on Gross Domestic Product. Correcting the labour market segmentation with an attitudinal change, and involving women in governance were the solutions he advocated.

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