Millennium Post

State project to end child labour in districts

Kolkata: Bengal government has taken up a unique project to convert one school in each district to a residential school where, children engaged in hazardous jobs, can be rehabilitated.

It also aims to conduct a detailed survey to identify children engaged in hazardous jobs.

One of the main purposes of the scheme is to ensure that no child is deployed in hazardous jobs and they can be given a better environment so that these children can avail food, shelter, clothes and medical care.

The state government also intends to provide educational and vocational training to the children coming to various residential schools in the state.

State Labour department which is supposed to look after the residential schools in the district has proposed a budgetary allocation of Rs 53 lakh in 2019-2020 financial year for

the smooth running of the schools.

The department had initiated the process of converting a school from each district to a residential one in the previous financial year.

The principal objective was to carry out a survey and identify the pockets where child labourers are introduced in different hazardous occupations.

In order to prohibit children below 14 years from working in any hazardous jobs and maintain surveillance on the deployment of child labourer in hazardous industries, the Labour department has started the process of regulating working conditions of adolescents in respect of the nature of works.

The Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 2016 has already come into force.

The Labour department published notification for converting one school from each district to residential school. The state government will

bear the entire cost of the scheme.

According to the Labour department sources, residential schools have already made operational in the districts like North Dinajpur, Nadia, North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, Bankura, West Midnapore. Many other districts are in the process of opening residential schools to eliminate child labour.

It may be mentioned here that the state government in the last year allotted Rs 35.49 lakh for introducing residential schools in the districts and the proposed budgetary allocation is much higher in the current financial year.

It may be mentioned Bengal allegedly had a high incidence of employing child labour in hazardous industries during the previous Left Front government but the scenario has improved after the Mamata Banerjee government came to power.

It is also learnt from the sources that Bengal's position is relatively better than various other states in the country where the proportion of children engaged as principal workers or subsidiary workers is alarmingly high.

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