UP tops list of states in number of child labourers

This is the status of child labour in Uttar Pradesh.

In 1991, UP stood second with 14.10 lakh child labourers, while Andhra Pradesh topped the country charts. Ten years later, UP was first with 19.27 lakh child labourers, while Andhra Pradesh’s figure had come down to 13.63 lakh. Recent surveys have shown that a large number of childen here, though enrolled in schools, are still working as labourers. And despite schemes like the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) and the Conditioner Cash Transfer (CCT) to check the practice, the numbers refuse to go down.

These revelations were made at a day-long seminar on Anti-Child Labour Day organised jointly by the state Department of Labour and UNICEF in Lucknow on Saturday.

Conceptualised by UNICEF, the CCT runs in 10 districts of the state. These districts — Agra, Lucknow, Kanpur, Moradabad, Firozabad, Aligarh, Bulandshahr, Ghaziabad, Azamgarh and Sonebhadra — were identified as places with a huge population of child labourers. The scheme involves an annual support of Rs 8,000 to the family of a rescued child labour, besides a monthly scholarship of Rs 100 on the condition that the child will study and not go back to work.

Talking about the initiative in Lucknow, where 37 children avail of the CCT scheme, Additional Labour Commissioner R B Lal said the government is trying to identify more children under the programme.

“Most of these children were rescued from the zari-zardozi industry and are studying in NCLP schools. But, their families are very poor and cannot survive without their earnings. Hence, they have been taken under the CCT cover.”

Speaking about the CCT programme, UNICEF’s child welfare expert Rajib Ghoshal said the scheme has shown positive results. “Though the pace is slow, the results are showing. In several places in Moradabad and even Lucknow, children have not gone back to work for the last one year. There are 260 children covered in the state under the scheme and we hope the number will increase,” said Ghoshal.

After two years, the scheme needs to be upscaled, said Ghoshal, addding: “It is important to ensure convergence among different departments like labour, education and health to ensure that child labourers are not just pulled away from work, but also given basic facilities through monetary support.”

UNICEF’s Chief of Field Office (Uttar Pradesh) Adele Khudr said it is important to have a child protection commissioner or an officer in the state to monitor the schemes.

From Indian Express

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