Gujarat witnesses rise in child labour cases with lack of funds, poor implementation of policies

The central government also appears disinterested in curbing child labour in Gujarat, as indicated by its response to the Lok Sabha on 6 February 2023.

Published: 29th June 2023 07:33 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th June 2023 07:33 PM   |  A+A-

child labour

Image used for representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

Express News Service

AHMEDABAD: Around 97 child labourers were rescued in Ahmedabad in June this year. These children were rescued from child labour in 11 different Ahmedabad regions. Children from several states including West Bengal, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Gujarat, were among those rescued.

Statistics from the government show that in the previous year, the Gujarat government's labour commissioner freed 155 children from child labour.

It is also worth noting that the Government of India's National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights wrote to several states on 04/05/23, inviting states to participate in the 'Celebration of the Elimination of Child Labour' campaign from June 1st to June 3rd, 2023.

The central government also appears disinterested in curbing child labour in Gujarat, as indicated by its response to the Lok Sabha on 6 February 2023.

According to the government, a significant reduction occurred in the grants released under the National Child Labor Project Scheme. In 2020-21, a grant of Rs 61.36 lakhs was released, whereas in 2021-22, only Rs 12.23 lakhs were released. Surprisingly, no grants have been disbursed by the government as of 30.01.2023.

The Lok Sabha was informed by the Government of India on 13th March 2023 about the occurrence of 64 Child Labor Act cases in Gujarat during 2019, followed by 39 cases in 2020, and 40 cases in 2021.

However, the statistics presented by NGOs dedicated to rescuing children from child labour in Gujarat paint a different picture.

Indrajit Singh Chauhan, the project coordinator of Prayas NGO said, “A collaborative effort with government agencies resulted in the release of children from child labour in 11 distinct regions of Ahmedabad.”

“During this operation, a total of 11 complaints, or FIR, were lodged at various police stations in Ahmedabad. As a result, approximately 97 children were successfully liberated from labour. It is important to note that these numbers only reflect the efforts of our NGO. When accounting for the involvement of other NGOs and organizations, there is a possibility for the overall figure to rise significantly.”

According to Varsha Dave, Deputy Labor Commissioner of the Gujarat Government, the reported instances of child labour until June 2023 amount to a limited 20 cases. However, she highlights a concerning pattern wherein a significant number of child labourers originate from Rajasthan, particularly within the borders of Gujarat.

“Gujarat attracts a significant influx of labour, drawing individuals from various states seeking work opportunities. Rajasthan primarily contributes to the presence of children employed in medium-range hotels, as well as in small-to-medium-class hotels, dhabas, and tea shops. Recently, children from Nepal have also been observed working in these establishments," said Varsha Dave.

“Child labour in Gujarat is prevalent as families from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Rajasthan migrate to the region, resulting in the involvement of their children in labour alongside their families," she added.

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