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Thursday, 8 October 2020

Increase in Child Labour in India

 

                    Out of 138 crores people in India, about 60 crores people have to do some work to run their families. From the start of the lockdown until last August, more than 12 crores of them lost their jobs. In other words, the income of one out of every five people was uncertain. Seventy-five percent of these 12 crores earn very little money. Some of them do very small business or day labour. Economists believe the collapse is due to the collapse of the construction industry and the MSME sector. A joint report by the ILO and the ADB, released in mid-August, found that 41 lakh young people (aged 15-24) lost their jobs in the construction industry and agriculture alone. A global survey was conducted to find out the impact of the Covid-19 situation on youth job opportunities. It shows that two-thirds of apprenticeships and three-quarters of internships in various industries in India are gone. Informing the government about the report, the concerned experts advised taking necessary steps so that the labor market can return to normal quickly. There is talk of creating education, training & suitable job opportunities for the youth. Otherwise, the future of 66 million young people in the Asia-Pacific region could become uncertain. 

                In 2019, the youth unemployment rate in the region was about 14 percent. In this COVID-19 situation, it has become horrible. Therefore, it is very important for the youth to take the necessary steps on behalf of the government.

               In Indian society, the family is responsible for education up to the school-college level. That is, the parents/guardians perform this duty. But the dropout rate was severe in all the states as very poor families could not afford it. School dropouts became child labourers. To help a poor family financially, young children would take on small jobs. Their work is often risky. Harmful chemicals are used in some factories. In those dangerous cases, they are used cheaply, even without pay. Young children are used to smuggling coal or other minerals into open-pit mining areas. They are also used for smuggling in the border areas. Some girls have to get married against their will. Some girls are trafficked in the dark world. Some children are also feared to join the jihadi group. There is an old tradition of employing them in housework, shops, hotels & restaurants.

                Civil society has repeatedly spoken out about the loss of childhood of many people. The Supreme Court has also reprimanded the government. Finally, the government has been forced to make several laws on the protection of children's rights, the right to education, etc. Accordingly, the Central Government as well as State Govt. has taken some projects. The purpose is to prevent school dropouts and child labor; Giving all children the opportunity to be good citizens. In the last few years, the West Bengal Government, India has taken some effective steps in this regard. Such as Mid Day Meal, distribution of free books and uniforms, Kanyashree, Sabuj Sathy & various types of scholarships etc. Today's question is, does that trend persist in the long-COVID episode? Isn't it true that a large number of young children have to move away from the learning environment? Ordinary people's experience is not good at all. There have also been public interest lawsuits. Naturally, the State Labour Department is in turmoil. The government wants to understand the real situation by launching operations in Kolkata and other districts. However, gathering information is not enough. The government must do everything it can to stop child labor. If necessary, the help of the center should be taken. Because today's children are the citizens of tomorrow. If all of them do not get the opportunity to be educated and trained, then the country will have to pay the ultimate price in the future. If we are careful now, it is possible to prevent such a big defeat.

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