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            The Government of India has been framed and introduced the National Child Labour Project as per the statutory provision of the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 aimed at prohibiting engagement of children below the age of fourteen in certain hazardous occupations and processes and regulating the conditions of service of such children engaged in other occupations and processes. It even restricted the involvement of children within 9- 14 years of age in domestic help/servants, dhabas, restaurants, eateries, teashops, hotels etc. in its amendment in 2006. The team of experts identified 16 hazardous occupations and 65 hazardous processes to rescue the child labour from their hazardous involvement.  However prohibition of engagement of children below fourteen years of age in hazardous occupations and processes is not applicable if the same is carried out within a family. NCLP facilitates to disengage children working in hazardous employments and processes as envisaged under the Child Labour Act and mainstream them through formal/informal education and vocational training inducted in the special schools of NCLP. This project covers (i)  Survey to identify children engaged in hazardous occupations and processes- (ii) Withdrawal of the children from hazardous employment and processes (iii) Rehabilitation of children withdrawn from work through special schools It warns that the children in the age group 5-8 years are enrolled in the schools under Sarva Siksha Abhijan. The Special Schools (presently renamed as Special Training Centre) under Project Societies of NCLP are run by NGOs, local self-government bodies, or directly by the Project Society(for this project a separate society for each district for welfare cum rehabilitation of child labour established) . The school enrolls working children of the age group of 9-14 years and they are given non-formal education for a period of maximum three years or till their attainment of 14 years of age. Each Special School has the provision for 50 children. Along with basic education the children are provided with vocational training as well.

There are 40 Special Training Centres run by the NGOs in Kolkata City. These NGOs get grant-in-aid for above programme via the Kolkata District Child Labour Welfare cum Rehabilitation Society, an appex society under the Department of Labour, Government of West Bengal. No centre runs properly. Only NGOs submit reports to get grant-in-aid. NGOs have a good liaison and understanding with officials of this Labour Department. The concerned  officials take steps to release the grant-in-aid and NGOs give a handsome amount for this. This is a secrete condition of running special schools/centres for child labour of Kolkata.

In the field it has been observed that there is a few or no beneficiary according to the provision of NCLP. Identification and selction of beneficiaries under NCLP are fake because NGOs only maintain a muster roll of beneficiaries who are slum dwellers and already in their school. They are not at all working children. They generally carry out their work within their family. Secondly majority of these special training centres remain closes. But there is  notice displaying in the centres ( local community club in slum area of Kolkata/abandoned buildinging) mentioning that “School be remain closed today due to unavoidable circumstances”.  This information is for the community people and for visitors that here a school is run under NCLP. So, no child labour is availing the services. There is no welfare cum rehabilitation of child labour. So, fund for this programme is for the welfare of NGOs and officials of the Department of Labour.  It is an evident of misuse of public money and Government runs it only as a system of dole. How long this service would run?

 Harasankar Adhikari is a  Social Worker

 

 

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