Child labour continues to be a concern in J&K

‘Every month we conduct inspections to check violation of labour laws, says Labour Deptt

Srinagar, Jul 08: The Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory, like other parts of the country, is also beset by the problem of Child Labour.

A huge percentage of child labour cases, experts say, have been reported from unorganized sectors where children continue to work without receiving any help from government or from any of its agencies.

“All the children (below 18) who aren’t enrolled at any educational institution amount to child labour because it is the age in which they should have been studying at schools. Though no one wishes to work as labourers at such age, it is the bleak financial conditions that forces children and parents to do so,” says one of the social activists.

According to different report on ‘child labour in J&K, majority of the child labour work in the handicrafts sector, automobile workshops, brick kilns, agriculture and as domestic servants in homes.

According to persons who studied their problems and carried out research on them, it (child labour) is because of poverty, distress and illiteracy.

Children even below 14 years of age can be seen working as vendors, bus conductors, factories and in workshops.

The experts said that the major cause of concern at present is that the children born during the times of previous turmoil have deeply been affected physiologically and that economic crisis has added to their miseries.

Another educationist said that during the past turmoil, the children of Jammu and Kashmir have been affected at the worst and that there are a huge number of  orphans in the state between the age group of 15-25 years.

Experts believe that unlike other states of India, there are no good NGOs in J&K which can raise their voice against child labour.

However, one of the officials here in the Labour department said that every month they conduct inspections in all districts to see children working as labourers and come across violation of such laws.

As regards children working as domestic help, the officer said that they can enter shops and establishments to detect child labour but cannot enter homes to locate children working as domestic help or servants.

it is to mention here that the Ministry of Labour and Employment has been implementing National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Project (NCLP) Scheme for rehabilitation of child labourers through District Project Societies under the chairmanship of the District Magistrate.

Under the NCLP scheme, the children in the age group of 9-14 years are rescued / withdrawn from work and enrolled in the NCLP Special Training Centres (STCs), where they are provided with bridge education, vocational training, mid-day meal, stipend, health care, etc. before being mainstreamed into formal education system. NCLP scheme has now been subsumed under Samagara Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Scheme.

As per data available, total 1225 Special Training Centres in 59 districts were operational for rehabilitation of 33573 child labourers enrolled there as on March 31, 2021. In J&K, there is NCLP Operational District while the total strength of STCs is 10. Under the flagship scheme, the Ministry of Labour and Employment also provides grants in aid to District Project Society which in turn releases to the concerned implementing agencies for operation of Special Training Centres.

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