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TOPIC : GS 2 Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Breaking the cycle of child labour is in India’s hands

What is the news?

  • The true extent of the impact of the COVID­19 pandemic on child labour is yet to be measured
  • The indications show that it would be significant as children are unable to attend school and parents are unable to find work.

Government Survey Reports

  • A Government of India survey NSS Report suggests that 95% of the children in the age group of 6­13 years are attending educational institutions (formal and informal)
  • While the corresponding figures for those in the age group of 14­17 years is 79.6%.
  • The Census of India 2011 reports 1 million working children in the age group of 5­14 years, out of whom 8.1 million are in rural areas mainly engaged as cultivators (26%) and Agricultural labourers (32.9%).
  • A Rapid Survey on Children jointly undertaken by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and UNICEF found that less than half of children in the age group of 10­14 years have completed primary education.

Decreased Rate in India

  • Child labour in India decreased in the decade 2001 to 2011,and demonstrates that the right combination of policy and programmatic interventions can make a difference.

 

Reasons for decrease of Child labour

  • Policy interventions such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005, the Right to Education Act 2009 and the Mid Day Meal Scheme have paved the way for children to be in schools along with guaranteed wage employment (unskilled) for rural families.
  • Convergence of government schemes is also the focus of the implementation of the National Child Labour Project.
  • Ratifying International Labour Organization Conventions 138 and 182
  • The Indian government further demonstrated its commitment to the elimination of child labour including those engaged in hazardous occupations.

Reasons for Increase in Child Labour in India during Pandemic

  • The economic contraction and lockdowns ensuing from the pandemic have affected leading to income reductions for enterprises and workers, many of them in the informal economy.
  • The large number of returned migrant workers has compounded the socio­economic challenges.
  • India experienced slower economic growth and rising unemployment even before the pandemic.
  • Subsequent lockdowns have worsened the situation, posing a real risk of backtracking the gains made in eliminating child labour.
  • With increased economic insecurity, lack of social protection and reduced household income, children from poor households are being pushed to contribute to the family income with the risk of exposure to exploitative work.

Challenges in education

  • With closure of schools and challenges of distance learning, children may drop out leaving little scope for return unless affirmative and immediate actions are taken.
  • Educational institutions are moving to online platforms for continuation of learning, the ‘digital divide’ is a challenge that India has to reconcile within the next several years.
  • The NSS Report t ‘Household Social Consumption on Education in India’ suggest that in 2017­18, only 24% of Indian households had access to an Internet facility, proportions were 15% among rural households and 42% among urban households.

Way Forward

  • It is through strategic partnerships and collaborations involving government, employers, trade unions, community based organisations and child labour families that could make a difference
  • Strong alliance paving our way toward ending child labour in all its forms by 2025 as countries around the world have agreed to in Sustainable Development Goal 8.
  • Governments, employers, unions, civil society organisations and even individuals — must rise and pledge to ‘Take Action against Child Labour’ as a part of the UN’s declaration of 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour

Mains question

Though the pandemic has amplified its contributing factors, policy and programmatic interventions can save children. Crtically Examine

Sources : https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/breaking-the-cycle-of-child-labour-is-in-indias-hands/article34702648.ece

PRELIMS PUNCHERS

  1. Mali

It is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa. Its capital is Bamako. The sovereign state of Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara Desert. The country southern part is in the Sudanian savanna, where the majority of inhabitants live, and both the Niger and Senegal rivers pass through. The country’s economy centres on agriculture and mining. One of Mali’s most prominent natural resources is gold, and the country is the third largest producer of gold on the African continent. It also exports salt.

Mali lies in the torrid zone and is among the hottest countries in the world. The thermal equator, which matches the hottest spots year-round on the planet based on the mean daily annual temperature, crosses the country. Most of Mali receives negligible rainfall and droughts are very frequent.

Sources : https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/west-african-leaders-meet-to-discuss-mali/article34684203.ece

  1. Climate Ambition Alliance

The Climate Ambition Alliance brings together countries, businesses, investors, cities and regions which are working towards achieving net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 as well as countries committed to updating their national climate action plans under the Paris Agreement – Nationally Determined Contributions .

Country engagement in the Alliance is led by the governments of Chile and the United Kingdom, with support from UN Climate Change and UNDP. Members of Race to Zero automatically join countries in the Climate Ambition Alliance, and their participation is registered on the Global Climate Action portal.

Sources : https://climateinitiativesplatform.org/index.php/Climate_Ambition_Alliance:_Net_Zero_2050

  1. Eco Development Forces

Eco-Development Forces (EDF) Scheme was established in 1980s as a scheme being implemented through Ministry of Defence for ecological restoration of terrains, rendered difficult either due to severe degradation or remote location or difficult law and order situation. The scheme of Eco-Development Forces is based on twin objectives of ecological regeneration in difficult areas, and promotion of meaningful employment to ex-servicemen.

Under this scheme, the establishment and operational expenditure on the Eco Task Force (ETF) Battalions raised by Ministry of Defence is reimbursed by Ministry of Environment and Forests while the inputs like sapling, fencing, etc. and also the professional and managerial guidance is provided by the State Forest Departments. In ETF battalions, the Ministry of Defence deploys its ex-servicemen, preferably from within the area of operation, whereas the nuclear core of the force is constituted of regular servicemen. Some of the ETF Battalions have undertaken successful eco-restoration of highly degraded sites, for example the limestone mining areas in the Mussoorie Hills.

Sources : https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/the-hindu-explains-what-are-the-key-changes-in-the-environment-impact-assessment-notification-2020/article32249807.ece

  1. Mid-Day Meals scheme

The Midday Meal Scheme is a school meal programme in India designed to better the nutritional standing of school-age children nationwide. The programme supplies free lunches on working days for children in primary and upper primary classes in government, government aided, local body, Education Guarantee Scheme, and alternate innovative education centres, Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and National Child Labour Project schools run by the ministry of labour.,it is the largest of its kind in the world.

Under article of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which India is a party, India has committed to yielding “adequate nutritious food” for children. The programme has undergone many changes since its launch in 1995. The Midday Meal Scheme is covered by the National Food Security Act, 2013.

 Sources : https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-to-give-100-each-to-children-covered-by-mid-day-meal-scheme/article34670350.ece

PRELIMSQUESTIONS

  1. Consider the following statement with reference to Climate Ambition Alliance
  2. Country engagement in the Alliance is led by the governments of Chile and the United Kingdom
  3. India is part of the programme

Select the correct statement using code given below.

(a). 1only                                 (b) 2 only

(c). Both of them                 (d). None of the above

Answer : A

The Climate Ambition Alliance brings together countries, businesses, investors, cities and regions which are working towards achieving net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 as well as countries committed to updating their national climate action plans under the Paris Agreement – Nationally Determined Contributions .

Country engagement in the Alliance is led by the governments of Chile and the United Kingdom, with support from UN Climate Change and UNDP. Members of Race to Zero automatically join countries in the Climate Ambition Alliance, and their participation is registered on the Global Climate Action portal. India is not part of the programme

Qn 2 .Conventions Nos. 138 and 182 related to

  1. Child labour
  2. Poverty
  3. Human Rights
  4. Health and Hygiene

Answer : A

Ratifying International Labour Organization Conventions Nos. 138 and 182. The Indian government further demonstrated its commitment to the elimination of child labour including those engaged in hazardous occupations.

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