NEW DELHI: Child labour, child trafficking and school dropout rates may increase in the post-lockdown phase, according to a survey by Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation. The survey collected data through an online survey with 53 NGOs working with children and a household survey of 245 respondents from the rural areas of the states of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Rajasthan.
Twenty-one per cent of the households said they may engage children in labour due to increased financial vulnerability, and 13 per cent said they may marry off their minor daughters if they continued to face economic crisis, according to the report ‘A Study on Impact of Lockdown and Economic Disruption on poor rural households with special reference to Children’.
Over 90 per cent of the NGOs said the incidence of child labour may increase and 64 per cent said cases of child marriage may see an increase. With children’s schooling affected, 20 per cent of the households said they are ready to consider withdrawing their children from school due to financial crisis.
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The average monthly household income has been found to have drastically reduced during the lockdown. Nearly 85 per cent of households reported they had no income at the time of the survey between April to May.
The analysis of data also revealed that families may take cash on credit from local moneylenders on higher interest rates. The households of daily wage labourers, agricultural labourers, casual workers were the worst affected by Covid-19 crisis and the subsequent lockdown said the survey.
There also needs to be micro-level surveillance in villages to prevent children of vulnerable households from engaging in labour, it added.