CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHILD LABOUR – CACL
Central Secretariat, C/o SICHREM, No.35, Anjanappa Complex, Lingarajapuram, Bangalore – 560084; Phone : 9845001338
The Campaign Against Child Labour calls upon the Central and State Governments not to adopt any measures due to Covid -19 crisis, that will backtrack the country from its commitment in the ‘sustainable development goals’ to eradicate Child Labour totally by the year 2025.
The statistics of the volume of child labour in India is still a matter of dispute as different agencies report different figures, varying between 44 million and 115 million. However there has been a claim that there was a reduction in the volume between the Census in 2001 and 2011. If this is true, certainly that provides a relief and gives further hope that there will be further reduction during 2011 to 2021. But the fear is that the Covid – 19 induced lock down is causing increase in the number of children getting into labour. There are already reports from the field that confirms this fear. It should be noted that mechanisms like Child Line, Child Rights Committees and Child Rights Commissions report that there is an increase in the calls for help.
In this context the Campaign urges the Governments to retract from the efforts to dilute the Labour laws because that can put the families of workers into greater insecurities and further impoverishment. This will push more children into the labour market. CACL upholds the need for providing incentives to Employers and Investors to rebuild the economy. But allowing cheap labour and child labour is a counter productive measure.
CACL is anguished by the proposal from certain quarters to grant amnesty to Employers of child labour as it is giving a wrong message and will encourage the Employers to take things for granted.
The tragic incident of a poor tribal girl studying in the 10th std committing suicide when the Kerala Govt. Introduced online education, should be an eye opener. The poor family did not have access to a smart phone and the old TV set in the house was under repair. It is a reality that a large number of children in India have no access to any digital media and those children will stop education. Any child out of school is a ‘potential laborer’. Therefore online education cannot be a substitution for a long time for schooling.
It should not be forgotten that a large number of children are also migrant laborers. Most often, the whole family with children migrate in search of work. The tragic death of Jameela Magdum, the 12 year old girl child migrant laborer during her long walk to her native place is a reminder for giving special focus on preventing children from migration. Providing employment for the migrant laborers with the guarantee of minimum wage in their own native place is an urgent necessity.
It maybe a fact that extraordinary situations demand extraordinary actions, but extraordinary actions shall not be at the cost of human rights especially of children.
Mathews Philip Ashok Jha
National Convener – CACL Convener – Advocacy Unit
Campaign Against Child Labour is a nationwide coalition of NGOs, Civil Society Organisations and individuals for eradication of child labour. This Press note is issued in the context of World Day Against Child labour on 12th June 2020.