NCPCR irked over dismal state of child labourers in BT cotton farms in Gujarat

HUMAN TRAFFICKING NEWS IS A SHAKTI VAHINI NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH DESK INITIATIVE

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) under the women and Child Development Ministry has found child labourers to be rampant in the BT cotton fields of Shihori and Khimana of Banaskantha district here during a visit of the Central body on October 7-10, 2011.

“We have found child labour cases to be rampant in the Bt. Cotton fields in the Shihori and Khimana areas of Banaskantha district and subsequently directed the labour department to take appropriate action,’’ Dr Yogesh Dube, Member, NCPCR, who had led the Central team, said.

The Commission also felt the need to organise a public hearing in the coming days to address the different child rights issues. On October 10, the team had a meeting with the Gujarat Government in the presence of chief secretary and senior officials from labour, social justice and empowerment, education, home, health, woman and child development, among others. The Commission had expressed its displeasure over the status of child labourers in the meeting.

It also raised concern over closure of schools in the area depriving children of their entitlements and asked the district administration to facilitate speedy resolution of issues concerning children.The delegation also had a meeting with NGOs working in the area to assess the child rights situation.

The Commission would be sending its observations and recommendations on the issue the Gujarat Government shortly. It may be mentioned that the Commission is also mooting the idea of taking up policy matters, such as inclusion of Bt Cotton in prohibited list, at a higher level and follow it up with the concerned ministry/department.

Incidentally, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 that bans child labour has excluded a vast section of toiling children in the unorganized sectors, as over 90 per cent of the labour force in India is accounted for by the unorganized sectors of production.

As per 2001 Population Census, children in the age group of 0-14 constituted about 360 million and accounted for 35.3 percent of total population.

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