Population 20 crores; child labourers just 2,211 in Uttar Pradesh
Child welfare activists and social workers have raised a question mark on the working of the state labour department, blaming poor surveys and lethargic approach to curb the malpractice.lucknow Updated: Jun 13, 2017 12:40 IST
Uttar Pradesh, with a population of over 20 crore, has only 2,211 child labourers! Seems unbelievable but the UP labour department says so.
Child welfare activists and social workers have raised a question mark on the working of the department, blaming poor surveys and lethargic approach to curb the malpractice.
Of the total child labourers identified in the state, the maximum were from Kanpur, where the department found 173 of them in the last financial year. Kanpur was followed by Agra.
The department identified 124 child labourers in the Taj city that has a population of over 15 lakh.
The state capital was placed third with 110 children involved in labour in 2016. Lucknow has a population of above 30 lakh.
“Just take a walk to the nearest lane of your locality and you will spot at least a dozen dhabas and eateries employing children. It’s a general scenario but I am surprised why the labour department is unable to trace the ‘illegality’,” said Umesh Gupta, a child rights activist.
The figures, on which child right activists are raising eyebrows, came to light through an RTI plea filed by Gupta. She wanted to know the total number of child labourers identified in the last two financial years.
In 2015, the department had identified 23, 76 and 63 child labourers in Kanpur, Lucknow and Agra respectively.
The RTI data further suggests that in Etah the department identified only one child labourer in 2016 whereas in Mau the department couldn’t found a single child labourer.
“When children selling tea, pan masala or washing utensils at eateries are a common sight, it is next to impossible that the department couldn’t found any child labourer in Mau,” said Gupta.
Another child activist, who didn’t wish to be named, slammed the labour department saying, “Most of the department officials are hand-in-glove with the employers who hire child labourers.”
The activist also said that the department identifies less child labourers in order to avoid rehabilitation liabilities.
“If a child is rescued, it’s the responsibility of the department to rehabilitate him and get him admitted in a school under RTE. To avoid this trouble, they don’t launch drives to identify child labourers,” he added.