CAMPAIGN AGAINST CHILD LABOUR
Our Efforts and Experiences – Part - II “In previous issue, information was given about study of system of child labour in amedpur area and remedies for eradication of system, in first part of article. In this second part, of Article our direct experiences and difficulties encountered by us are highlighted.”
To develop proper understanding of system of child labour of our region a survey of 15 villages from ahmedpur tahsil was conducted in oct. 1994. As per asessment of P.H.C. total population of 15 villages was 19014. Survey revealed that there were 466 children who were working as child Labour, out of which 64 % were girl children. Though survey provided information of various aspects of system, here we would like to highlight earnings of child labour and how their soci-educational backwardness is responsible for promotion and perpetuation of system. Survey revealed that out 466, 252 children were working in family occupation was child Labour, majority of remaining child labour were daily wage earners, earning average Rs. 10/- as their daily wage. Employment was available for them for 6 to 8 month a year. It means their average annual income was rs. 1750/- only. Only 36 children were working on monthly basis, whose average annual income was around Rs. 2000/- only. Few of them were employed on yearly contract basis and their earnings were around Rs. 2000/- to Rs. 2500/- per year. It also revealed that, contribution of a child Labour to family income was around 5 to 10% only. It means, whatever child labour earned was quite issufficiant for meating his/her own basis needs. As per price index of Aug. 1992, a person needed minimum Rs. 11.75 only per day for meating his/her basic needs. It means a person wanted Rs. 4288/- per annum for his/her survival. It is a general fealing among people that parents send their children to work to meet family needs. But in reality earnings of child labour employed in any occupation are not enought to support family financially. But child labour may supporting either employer to earn more or national economy to gain strength. The naked truth is in this unholy alliance of employer and parents child pays heavy price and loose his/her childhood.
Long back, we had submitted a proposal, under a scheme of ILO, to work for eradication of system of Child Labour. Corrospondance was going on for around two years with State and Central Governments about proposal. In mean time scheme changed and we could not implement it.
It always happens like this, with proposals submitted by voluntary organisations. But as per policy of Government, Labour Officer, Latur freed 20 Child Labours and put them with Savitribai Fuley Servicy Centre, Udgir, for their care and maintainance. The same Government officer repeatedly requested Government did not sanction any amount for it and organisation is in difficulties now of how to take care of these children.
Our experience is, it is easy to get financial support form other funding agencies than Government for such programmes. We could implement some concrete programmes for child labour with a financial support from Tdh and Himos. It might be experience of other organisations also. Again it is a common experience that, general public takes more interest in such programmes than Govt. officials.
For running 30 child Labour education centres and 10 creches in Chakur Tahsil, last year people contribute 17 to 18 thousands as their share. For donations 700 letters were sent to individual for their contribution for child labour education programme form Rs. 25 to Rs. 300/- were received from individuals contacted.
While organising Marathwada level march against system of child labour, any people contacted us and expressed their satisfaction about our efforts and also expressed their desire to participats actively in campaign. After march, still we receive letters from individuals and organisation. They want to participate in campaign and expart our support and guidence in this matter. But we are aware of our own limitations. Even we could not do effective follow up of programme.
Situation of child labour on National Level : Our country has a vast population. Out of which around 110 million children work as Child Labour. They work is numerous occupations. Their employment in hazardous industries like carpet industry, match factories, mines cracker industries is much in news. But there many more industries and occupations in which child labour is employed and they are equally hazardous one. During period of 100 years Government has enacted many laws about Child Labour. But there is not a single law which could stop system of child labour totally. The most publicised Act on child labour is an Act of 1896. But this Act also could prohibit employment of child labour is selected hazardous industries. But fact is, industries which are listed in this Act also employ child Labour. Majority of child labour is employed in unorganised sector. There is dire need of enactment preventing employment of child labour in this sector.