Skip to main content

Right to life 'at stake' for Gujarat child workers forming 6% of MSME workforce


By Damini Patel*
Ever since the lockdown began, there has been an increase in complaints pertaining to the violation of child rights across the country. As reported, the Childline India has crossed 92,000 calls requesting protection from violence.
Mobility being extremely restricted for all, children have nowhere to go and seek help for protection of their rights – especially within the four walls of home, they are subjected to physical abuse, mental torture and even sexual abuse in several cases.
This is perfectly in tandem with the research evidence that in more than 90% of the cases of child abuse, the child knows the abuser personally and in cases of sexual abuse, it comes generally from the family quarters.
With 472 million children, India has the largest child population in the world and campaigners say the lockdown has impacted around 40 million children from poor families. Everyone during lockdown is asked to be at home, but the grave issue of those children who have No Home¸ where do they go, what happens to them?
These questions are not easy to answer and but are important for the smooth implementation of Right to Education Act as well as the mid-day meal scheme at a time when schools and anganwadis are closed.
As per the Disaster Management Act, provisions of School Safety Plan would need to be implemented, which every school in Gujarat, as elsewhere in the country, is supposed to have developed with UNICEF support. 
Large number of child labourers in Gujarat are migrant child workers. They have limited or no access to accommodation, health, education
However, a rapid on-field survey of schools in Gujarat conducted last week yielded total lack of awareness about school safety plan and school disaster management plan. Gujarat claims to be one of the first states to pilot the School Safety Initiative.
Gujarat ranks 7th with 2,50,318, i.e. 5.75%, child labourers age 6 to 14 years working in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. Forming nearly 6% of the workforce of MSMEs of Gujarat being child labourers, and the lockdown in effect, right to livelihood of children is also at stake.
Even more frightening is the fact that, with the relaxation of the lockdown norms and issuance of guidelines to begin economic operations, ensuring the disinfection of workplace has turned out to be a major issue.
The child of Gujarat does not know whether it is safe for him/her to go to work or remain deprived of right to food. Let us not mention here that this nearly 6% figure is that of identified or known children who are in conflict with the Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act.
A large number of child labourers in Gujarat is migrant child labour. They have very limited or no access to accommodation, health, education and other basic amenities. Being forced to live in unhygienic, crowded, inhuman surroundings along with adult male migrants, their right to personal safety, right to food, right to recreation and right to liberty are all at stake.
Thus, in Gujarat model, what comes to the eye is much less than what exists, with reports of children as young as aged two being infected with COVID-19, stringent actions to protect, promote and secure the rights of children are essential.
Indeed, it is the responsibility of all of us, because today's safe, strong, educated, healthy child depend our future. If we are concerned about the future in our personal lives, then it is our duty to do it for the society and the country.
---
*State co-ordinator, Gujarat, Bachpan Bachao Andolan

Comments

TRENDING

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

Failure of 'trickle down theory' behind India's poor Global Hunger Index rating

By Dr Gian Singh*  On October 14, 2021, two organisations, Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and WeltHungerHilfe (a German organization that researches the problem of global hunger), jointly published the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. These organizations have included 116 countries in the world hunger rankings.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Religious mobs replicate blasphemy laws, 'threatening' liberty in a free country

Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh By Ajit Singh*   A Dalit man, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten up and lynched to death near farmers’ protest site in the State of Haryana allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he committed blasphemy by desecrating the Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib.

March opposes Sabarmati Ashram renovation: 'Mahatmaji had kept open for access to all'

Counterview Desk A Sevagram to Sabarmati march, which began on October 17 from Wardha (Maharashtra) and will end on October 24 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), has demanded that the Sabarmati Ashram, the government should not impose "the fashion and glitz of a shallow modernity" at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, in the name of renovating the Ashram founded by Gandhiji.