Guwahati: All the Northeastern states, except Assam, are among the 10 states of India which constitute almost 14% of the total child labour population in the country; however, not even a single child has been rescued from situations of forced labour from these states.
This was revealed in a nationwide survey, conducted by the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) on “Extent of child labour and prosecution of cases under Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016, in India” to assess government’s efforts towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 of eliminating Child Labour by 2025 in the country.
June 12 is celebrated every year as World Day Against Child Labour, an International Labour Organization-sanctioned day first launched in 2002 aiming to raise awareness and activism to prevent child labour.
According to the survey report, these states are Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland, Odisha, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
The study is a secondary analysis of data from three successive ‘Crime in India’ reports published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) from 2016 to 2018 and the Census of India 2011.
The analysis reveals that a total of 204 FIRs (384 victims) in 2016; 462 FIRs (685 victims) in 2017 and 464 FIRs (810 victims) in 2018, were registered under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act (CPLRA) in the country over the last three years. The study dismisses the dramatic increase in child labour rescues between 2016 and 2018 and categorises it as ‘grossly inadequate’.
The state-wise analysis reveals that even though Uttar Pradesh has the highest population of child labourers in the country (21%), only 15 FIRs have been registered under CLPRA in the last three years, rescuing only 20 child labourers.
Similarly, in Bihar, which has the second largest child labour population, not even a single FIR under CLPRA was registered in 2016 and 2017, and only 14 FIRs were registered in the year 2018. These figures not only signify a major gap with regards to registration of cases under CLPRA by the law enforcement agencies, but also emphasizes upon the need to create awareness among the general population of Bihar in order to substantially scale-up reporting of child labour in the state.
Meanwhile, participating in a programme, organized by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, V V Giri National Institute of Labour (NLI), International Labour Organisation and Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation on World Day Against Child Labour, in New Delhi on Friday, Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi said, “Ending child labour in all its forms in India, especially in the supply chains, will create an additional incentive for economic growth and enhanced international investments from companies. Economic growth cannot be achieved and sustained without eradication of child labour.”
Appreciating the steps taken so far by the government, Satyarthi said that if India hoped to achieve its global commitment to end child labour by 2025 as part of SDG Goal 8.7, it must establish a clear vision and roadmap, and act with urgency. Failure to act with urgency today, by governments, businesses, civil society and communities, will push millions of children into exploitation and adversely impact India’s economic growth for decades.