Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 30:
In a move aimed at eradicating child labour from the state, the Odisha government today decided to go for convergence of efforts among existing institutions, departments and agencies through a common action plan.
A high level preparatory meeting for the purpose chaired by chief secretary G C Pati was held at the state secretariat here today.
Labour Commissioner Shalini Pandit outlined the issues involved and made a presentation on the proposed action plan, said an official press release.
The release said, under the common action plan gram panchyats, panchayat samitis, zilla parishads and district administration will be actively involved in the prohibition, registration and rehabilitation activities.
Gram panchayats will be involved in identifying vulnerable families and bringing them to the fold of income generating schemes and programmes. Sensitization programmes will be intensified at village, panchayat and urban local body levels, the release said.
Chief secretary Pati directed labour commissioner Pandit to draft the common action plan converging the activities and schemes of the departments like Labour and Employment, Home, School and Mass Education, Women and Child Development, Panchayati Raj, Health and Family Welfare, Housing and Urban Development and ST & SC Development by November 7 and place it for necessary approval.
The meeting focused on issues relating to prevention of child labour, strengthening of enforcement mechanism, intensifying awareness generation, providing education and skill development training to the vulnerable as well as rescued children, rescue of child labourers and their rehabilitation, monitoring mechanism etc.
It may be noted that as per the existing provisions of law, child labour refers to a working child below the age of 14, who is paid for the work either in cash or kind. The Labour department has identified existing regulations for prohibition of child labour.
The major ones include Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act -1986, Odisha Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Rules- 1994, Indian Penal Code-1860 in its sections 363 A, 367, 370, 371, 374, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act-2000, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act-1976, Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act-2009, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act-1989 and Children (Pledging of Labour) Act-1933. Apart from these, other key legislations enlisted by the department include Odisha Shops and Commercial Act-1956, Factories Act-1948, Plantation Labour Act-1951, Mines Act-1952, Merchant Shipping Act-1958 and Apprentices Act-1961.
All these Acts and regulations can be evoked for prohibition of child labour, the release said.
Development Commissioner Aditya Padhi, secretary ST & SC Development Surendra Kumar, secretary Panchyati Raj Deo Ranjan Kumar Singh, secretary Law Mihir Ranjan Parida and other senior officers from concerned departments participated in discussion.