Skip to main content

India's mining children 'neglected' by govt, human rights activists alike

By Our Representative
Two important voluntary organizations, working in several of the mining areas of India, have expressed serious concern that the so-called “mining children” in the country are actually “nobody’s children”. In a sharp critique, these organizations have said, while the Government of India has not allocated the task of looking after mining children to any specific ministry or department, the NGOs working in the mining areas too have neglected their rights.
An eight-page commentary, distributed by the two organizations, HAQ: Centre for Child Rights and Samata, during the release of a film on mining children in Delhi, said, “The ministry or department that mines does not look after children, and those ministries or departments that look after children, such as Departments or Ministries of Social Welfare, Labour, Women and Child Development, Education, Tribal Welfare do not have mining areas on their radar.”
The commentary adds, “So invariably, children in these areas fall between the cracks”, pointing out, this is happening at a time when India’s richest mining areas are also prone to “high dropout rates from school” and “vulnerability to sexual exploitation and trafficking.”
“What is more”, the commentary insists, “same kind of gap exists between human rights activists and civil society groups as well. Those who work on land rights and mining issues seldom see and therefore highlight the issues concerning children. Similarly, those working on child rights seldom see the impact mining is having on children.”
The documentary film released on the occasion, “Falling through the Cracks: Children in Mining”, has been shot in stone mines of Panna, Madhya Pradesh, one of the rare places where diamond is mined, and Chitrakoot and Shankargarh in Uttar Pradesh. It was released at the India International centre on March 16, 2015 and by Joachim Theis, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF India.
During the film release ceremony, which took place in Delhi, its director, Shibani Chaudhury of NGO Sruti, said, she decided to make the film after she was “moved” by the appalling conditions that the children in the mining areas.
“Despite the United Nations Convention on the rights of children and the various laws ensuring the rights of children there was still this gaping hole that needed immediate attention”, she underlined.
The film, which is based on interviews with mining children and their parents in Panna, highlights that India has a lot of laws, policies and programmes for children, but the mining children are unable to benefit from them. Very few laws provide any protection or relief to mining children in particular or address their specific situation created as a result of living and even working in mining.
The film followed a field research -- India’s Childhood in the “Pits”- A Report on the Impacts of Mining on Children in India – conducted in the year 2010, first of its kind, carried out in eight states - Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
HAQ and Samata have been working with communities, academicians, lawyers and organizations and others at the grassroots levels in these states on issues related to mining and children.
The film acquires significance, says the commentary, as there has been a 29 per cent cut in the Union Budget for children this year. “It now stands at an abysmal 3 per cent of the entire budget”, said one of those involved in making the film, Enakshi Ganguly.
“All flagship programmes of the government like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), and health related schemes, as well as allocations to the key ministries that implement them, stand severely cut,” she added. 

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Rejoinder: Worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima is fading, slowly and steadily

By Dr KS Parthasarathy* 
EAS Sarma, former Secretary, Government of India (GoI) in a letter addressed to the Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), GoI, stated that, there has been "worldwide anxiety about the consequences of catastrophic nuclear accidents, either due to manual lapses or natural calamities" (Counterview, December 2, 2018). "In the recent years, globally, the pace of growth of nuclear power has escalated in leaps and bounds, causing a great deal of public concern and apprehension."

Karnataka: NGO Akshay Patra "not sensitive" to nutrition demands of school children

Counterview Desk
Well-known civil rights organizations, Right to Food Campaign and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, have sent a letter to the Union minister of human resource development, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, other concerned ministers and officials of the state expressing concerns regarding the mid-day meal (MDM) to school children, insisting, all contracts to the Akshay Patra for supply of MDM should be immediately terminated.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Modi's PRO, who served previous Congress, BJP CMs in Gujarat with "equal" competence

By Rajiv Shah
A public relations officer (PRO), even as maintaining anonymity, is supposed to “manage” reputation of his or her client, reflecting the client’s views in order to influence opinion and behaviour. A PRO is also known to use, the world over, media and communication to build, maintain, manage and plan publicity strategies and campaigns, even as dealing with enquiries from the public, particularly media, organising promotional events such as press conferences, open days, exhibitions, tours and visits. A PRO is also supposed to final touches to press statements for his or client.

Proposed expansion of Karnataka N-plant "ignores" worldwide anxiety post-Fukishima

Counterview Desk
EAS Sarma, former secretary, Government of India (GoI), in a letter addressed to secretary, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), GoI, with copies to chairman, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and chairman Karnataka Pollution Control Board, has said that radiation and environmental risks have been ignored in DAE’s proposal to set up Units 5 & 6 (2X700MWe) at Kaiga Nuclear Power Station in Karnataka.

80% school children are beaten up, 91% parents "approve" of it: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A recent report, prepared by researchers with the civil rights group, Agrasar, has revealed that of the 521 children from marginalized groups surveyed in Gurugram, Haryana, 80% said they are punished at school. Based on data collected from semi-urban communities in Gurugram, the report’s conclusions also take into account survey 100 parents, personal interviews with 26 children, three focus group discussions and one seasonal calendar exercise with 29 parents.

Forced child labour rampant in Uttar Pradesh sugarcane fields: Oxfam study

By Rajiv Shah
A 14-year-old boy and his older brother were hired by an agent from Bihar under the pretext of getting them a job in a shoe factory in Uttar Pradesh. The agent brought with him a dozen-odd to Uttar Pradesh under the pretext of offering work to them in a factory. Only upon arrival in Muzaffarnagar, the boys were told that they would be working in a sugarcane field.