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Yogi govt launches campaign to check child labour

IANS | August 16, 2021 01:15 PM

Lucknow:  The Yogi Adityanath government is launching a major campaign for children working as labourers in hazardous industries.

The campaign that is being launched from Monday and will continue till August 30, will act effectively against their employers.

Suresh Chandra, Additional Chief Secretary, labour, said, "From August 16 to 30, the state government proposes to launch another campaign to identify child labourers and act against establishments employing them."

About 10,000 children and teenagers, including about 2,000 engaged in hazardous work, have been identified in the past five years.

Action has been taken in the form of prosecution being launched against over 1,000 employers, but there appears no check on children being engaged as labourers in Uttar Pradesh.

There are apprehensions that many of those, who may be identified in the drive, may begin working as child labour again in the next few weeks.

"Efforts are made to send such children to school or action is taken for their rehabilitation. Yet, many of such children return to the same or other work establishment within a few weeks," said another official of the state's labour department.

The labour department has implemented ‘Naya Savera Yojana' in collaboration with the UNICEF in select villages of 20 districts to make these areas child labour free.

Apart from Lucknow, the districts covered under Naya Savera Yojana are Kanpur, Agra, Bareilly, Badaun, Moradabad, Ghaziabad, Barabanki, Gonda, Bahraich, Shravasti, Balrampur, Mirzapur, Sonbhadra, Jaunpur, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Ballia, Prayagraj and Gorakhpur.

The government spokesman said, "Under this scheme, 39,856 children in 6 to 14 years age group have been identified and 26,933 of them have been rehabilitated in the past four years. In the 15-to-18-year age group too, 16,383 have been identified and 5,290 have been rehabilitated. About 6,679 families have been registered with Uttar Pradesh Bhawan Evam Sannirman Karmkar Kalyan Board (welfare agency for construction and other workers)."

Sangeet Sharma, former member, Child Welfare Committee, said, "A large number of children and teenagers are working as child labourers though the exact number is not available. In many cases, the children identified and rescued, return to work as child labour in the absence of any major scheme for rehabilitation."

"There may be some cases of child trafficking but hardly any criminal case is registered. Anti-Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) and Special Juvenile Police Units (SJPUs) have been set up in every district, but authorities are not able to take action as parents of such children often deny involvement of any gang. Under such circumstances, efforts made to identify those working behind such children, prove futile," he added.

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