Child status study in July
The State Government will take up an elaborate exercise to study the status of every child in the age group...
The State Government will take up an elaborate exercise to study the status of every child in the age group of 0 to 14 years. The Department of Labour and Employment has been tasked with the appraisal in July this year as part of a move to address the issues such as child labour , malnourishment and deprival of child rights that included education. The focus of the exercise will be more on street children, orphans, beggars and those exposed to child abuse.
Labour Department officials would monitor the study with the help of District Collectors. The government has already asked all the district administration officials -- from village secretary to revenue divisional officer -- to be involved in the exercise.
The Supreme Court, in its 1996 judgment, directed the central and state governments to conduct a detailed survey on children to check the menace of kids being used as labourers in hazardous industries and for begging.A M V Foundation, an NGO in the State, identified nearly four lakh children, mostly girls between seven and 14 years of age, toiling 14-16 hours a day in cotton seed production across the country of which 90 per cent are employed in Andhra Pradesh.
"If a building collapsed, you can build a new one by spending some money. But, we cannot bring back the childhood if it was ruined and the repercussion would be very much harmful to the country", is the motto behind the exercise, State Labour Commissioner B Ramanjaneyulu told The Hans India on Wednesday.
The study would require a week's time as it would cover some 70 lakh children in all strata. "Real picture of children in the State would be known with the audit exercise", Ramanjaneyulu hoped. The government has sent circulars to all the district collectors to engage the ICDS, municipal employees and revenue staff in the exercise, he said and added the government had decided to take up the survey after 'Mana Badi' programme.
Ramanjaneyulu said, "The staff would visit each house in the habitation, town and city and collect data about children, how many children are in the family, what they are doing, if anybody has migrated along their parents and if so what they are doing there and whether any child is being used as domestic help (even in their own houses). The audit will cover children engaged in farm work at the cost of their education along their parents.
There are cases of physical, sexual and emotional abuse of child domestic workers. Often the argument for domestic work is that families have placed their children in these homes for care and employment. But a recent notification by the Ministry of Labour has made child domestic work as well as employment of children in dhabas, tea stalls and restaurants "hazardous" occupations.
Poverty and lack of social security are the main causes of child labour. The increasing gap between the rich and the poor, privatization of basic services and the neo-liberal economic policies are driving major sections of the population out of employment. This adversely affects children more than any other group, Ramanjaneyulu said.
A Ravindra Seshu