By Odisha Story Bureau, Bhubaneswar:
The Labour & ESI Dept., Govt. of Odisha organised a State Level function in collaboration with UNICEF, Odisha on 12th June 2017 at IDCOL Auditorium, Bhubaneswar for observing World Day against Child Labour.
The World Day against Child Labour is observed every 12th June to promote the drive towards child labour free and child friendly Odisha. This year the theme is – “In conflict and disasters: Protect children from child labour”.
Sj. Susant Singh, Hon’ble Minister Labour and ESI presided over the function. Sj. Prafulla Kumar Samal, Hon’ble Minister Women &CD graced the occasion as Chief Guest. The other dignitaries Sri G. Srinivas, IAS, PrincipalSecretary to Government, Labour and ESI Department,Ms.YumiBae, Chief UNICEF, Odisha and Sri Sachin R. Jadhav, IAS, Labour Commissioner, Odisha were present.
As per Census, 2011 the total child population in Odisha, in 5-14 years, is 84,23,393. Approximately 4% of child population is engaged in some form of labour. The Census, 2011 also reveals that 1.65% of total population of the State may be affected by one or other forms of works done by children in the age group of 10-14 years.
For complete elimination of Child Labour in Odisha, a State Action Plan has been formulated in the year 2014 which focuses on a convergence mechanism in coordination with different Departments like School and Mass Education Department, Panchayanti Raj Department, Women and Child Development Department, Health and Family Welfare Department, Home Department and ST&SC Development, Minority and Backward Class Welfare Departmentto (i) rescue & rehabilitate child labour, (ii) promote awareness, (iii) enforce of all relevant laws and (iv) ensure sustained efforts to cover families of child labourers under different Poverty Alleviation Programmes. The Action Plan also spells out the preventive mechanism through identification of vulnerable families and children, promote education as mandated under Right to Education Act and post-rescue measures which include initiatives for skill development. In pursuance of Child Labour Action Plan necessary budgetary support is made by the Government.
As a part of effort to eliminate Child labour, the Department started a fresh survey in all 30 districts. The previous survey was done in 1997. The baseline survey for child and adolescent labour under NCLP has been initiated in 24 districts of Odisha during this year. In the remaining six districts namely Boudh, Kandhamal, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Puri and BhadraktheDistrict project Societies for NCLP Scheme have been constituted and the preliminary survey of child labour is in progress.
On completion of the survey, NCLP Special Training Centres (STC)will be opened to enrol the child labour within 14 years in these centres where they will be provided with bridge education, vocational training, mid-day meal, stipend, health care and recreation etc. with the ultimate objective of preparing them to be mainstreamed into the formal system of education. The adolescents (within 15-18 years) will be linked under different skill development initiatives of Govt.
As per the recent amendment,the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act,1986,there is complete ban on employment of children below 14 years. Children within the age group of 15-18 years are allowed to work except in hazardous occupations and processes. The children are to be educated under the Right to Education Act. The penal provisions have been made to make the offence cognizable and the penalties have been made steeper with a fine up to Rs.50,000/-. After announcement of Central Rules on Child Labour on 2nd June 2017, steps have been taken for amendment of State Rules.
The amended Act also mandates for constitution of Child and Adolescent Labour Rehabilitation Fund at the district level to which the amount of fine realised from the employers engaging child and adolescentlabour shall be credited. This fund will be utilised for the welfare of the Child/ Adolescent withdrawn from the work. To ensure enforcement and other regulatory activities under this Act, the District Magistrate will be conferred powers and duties to check the incidents of engagements of Child Labours and ensure penal action. Awareness and orientation activities of various provisions under the Child Labour Act will be initiated.
For observance of the World day Against Child Labour the participation from the converging Departments of Government, representatives of employers’ organizations, Trade Unions, NGOs, Academics, Civil Society members and children was solicited.This programme covered
- Signature Campaign against child labour
- Screening of two short-films on elimination of child labour
- Sand Art Animation display to promote an enabling environment for children
- Launching of IEC materials namely poster, brochure and sticker for elimination of child labour to bring awareness on the Child Labour.
The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of Govt. of Odisha also envisages for complete stop of child labour by 2025. To achieve this objective, it has been increasingly felt that the collective and concerted action by all stakeholders are extremely essential. A comprehensive communication plan in collaboration with UNICEF involving all stakeholders to bring elimination of child labour will be rolled out during this year.
These initiatives are planned by the L&SEI Dept for the first time.On the eve of the occasion, Hon’ble Chief Minister has sent his greetings through Facebook and Twitter with a message “I reaffirm resolve to end child labour in all forms in Odisha. Let’s take a stand. Say No to Child Labour”
The vote of thanks was given by UNICEF.