A sum of R38 lakh is the amount lying unspent with the Delhi Child Labour Rehabilitation cum Welfare Society, which takes care of rehabilitation of rescued child labourers annually, a query under RTI has revealed.
The society received a total of Rs 4.27 crore during the last five years comprising Rs 2.5 crore — just one time in 2008-09 — from the Delhi government and rest from the Centre, the RTI reply further informed.
“The pending amount — R38 lakh as on October 2010 — can be used for rehabilitation of many more children,” said Prinyanka Sinha from NGO Pratidhi, who had sought the information under the Right to Information (RTI).
The number of children rescued per month is very less as against the target of 500 children per month set by the Delhi High Court in connection with the ‘Save the Childhood Foundation’ case of 2005.
Earlier last year, the affidavit filed by the National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in the court in the same case had mentioned that around 1,502 children were rescued during July 2009 to November 2010.
But government officials refute the charges of ‘unspent funds’. “It would be factually wrong to label this fund as unspent. We regularly utilise funds for rehabilitation of children rescued as child labourers,” said Rajendra Dhar, Delhi’s joint labour commissioner.
An elaborate procedure is followed when any raid is conducted for rescuing child labourers. The task force involves personnel from labour department, Delhi Police, the local civic body, education department and from the women and child department. The labour officer also issues challan for child labour laws violation.
“An amount of R20,000 per child working in hazardous industries etc is recovered from the erring employers,” Dhar said adding, “It is deposited in this account against every demand notice.”
Whenever a child is repatriated to his/her home state, amount due to him/her is transferred to the respective district magistrate of the state concerned. “This way we have reimbursed R80 lakh till 2007 to different states,” the officer said.
“Apart from this fund, the grant-in-aid from the Delhi government for administrative expenses too is deposited in the same account,” Dhar added.
Incidentally, the administrative expenditure — as per the RTI for the last five years — was R15.92 lakh while the amount spent on rehabilitation of child labour was R71.25 lakh during the same time.