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मंदार शिंदे
Mandar Shinde

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Give Us Education, Not Labour

State Level Webinar and Panel Discussion

on the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour (10th June 2021)

A State level Webinar and Panel Discussion was organised on Thursday, 10th June 2021, on the occasion of World Day Against Child Labour, by the Maharashtra Chapter of Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL), a national network of civil society organisations working towards eradication of child labour in all its forms and ensuring realisation of child rights. A panel consisting of representatives from the administration, the industry, civil society organisations, and child representatives agreed upon multi-stakeholder collaborative efforts to address the issue of child labour more effectively.

    The Webinar started with Mr. Santosh Shinde, former member of State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) explaining the status of child labour, specifically in the state of Maharashtra, and the status of implementation of legal provisions for prohibition of child labour. This was followed by a panel discussion on the problems faced by child labourers, causes and effects of child labour, existing schemes and initiatives by the government, and challenges in the implementation of legal provisions with respect to child labour. The panelists included two representatives of children, along with officials from the Education and Labour departments of Government of Maharashtra, former IAS officer, representatives of industry, civil society organisations, and CACL network. The panelist spoke on the following points -

Children’s Representatives (Om and Tirumala)

  • Children have to accompany their parents at their work since the schools are closed and there is no safe place for the children to stay back and study in the community. This is their first exposure to work and most of the children start working and earning from here.
  • All the children do not get the opportunity to attend school, especially the digital divide has forced many children out of the mainstream of education during the lockdown.
  • Addiction of the parents, especially fathers, forces the children to drop out of schools and start earning for their families at a very young age. The government should take a strict action against liquor shops to control the addiction.
  • The government should provide the resources for online education or restart the schools as soon as possible.
  • The children dream of becoming a police officer and a nurse or a doctor; but it is impossible for them and their parents to achieve this dream without free and good quality education, enabling environment, employment opportunities for their parents so that the adults can fend for their families and a strict implementation of the law to guarantee their rights. 


Dr. Kamaladevi Awate, Deputy Director, State Council of Education Research and Training – SCERT : She was deeply touched by the voices of children and urged all adults and important decisions makers at the panel including herself, that we all come together to eradicate child labor and secure a future for all our children  

  • The Balrakshak Scheme by the Education Department focuses on mainstreaming the out-of-school and migrant children in the state.
  • Parents and community volunteers are being trained along with school teachers for ensuring education and protection of the children.

Dr. Shobha Khandare, Principal, District Institute of Education Training - DIET, Pune

  • It is important to ensure implementation of the Right To Education Act through coordination and cooperation among all stakeholders.
  • Meetings were conducted with all concerned departments like police, sugar commissioner, local administration, etc. to bring everybody on the same page for education of children.
  • Efforts are being made for mainstreaming the out-of-school and migrant children through the Bal Rakshak programme.
  • Education Guarantee Card is a useful resource to ensure continuation of education for migrant children across the state.
  • Various online resources and activities were designed and implemented for digital education during Covid Lockdown. Offline worksheets were also used for better reach.
  • Palak Mitra initiative was launched to involve parents in their child's education.
  • Learning Loss Recovery Programme (LLRP) has been launched recently to address the loss of learning during lockdown.
  • Training was conducted for teachers on child protection in seasonal hostels for migrant children.


Mr. Datta Pawar, Labour Officer, Pune

  • Explained various legal provisions for the prohibition of Child Labour and corresponding initiatives taken up by the Labour Department over the years.
  • Any citizen can report child labour cases in their area on the PENCIL Portal. The Labour Department conducts raids on the establishments reported through this portal.
  • More awareness is required among employers and general public about the rules and regulations regarding child labour.

Mr. Ujjwal Uke, Former IAS Officer

  • Children do not vote, hence they are obviously ignored. 
  • Shared his personal experience of conducting raids and rescuing children from establishments employing child labour.
  • The platform of the government and commitment of the NGOs can bring better results regarding eradication of child labour.
  • Coordination and combination of NGOs (monitoring and feedback), CSR (providing funds to run programmes), and Government (providing authorization and platform) should be the way forward.
  • All stakeholders should be brought on one platform like this initiative by the Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL), Maharashtra.
  • Sensitization of officers and political leaders is a must for effective implementation of legal provisions against child labour.
  • Not just “Landing on the moon” but “To land on the moon and bring the man safely back to Earth” was the objective of the Apollo mission by NASA. Similarly, in the case of child labour, what happens after a raid or a rescue operation is more important than the quick publicity for the officers. Rehabilitation and a continued followup is a must. 
  • Child Welfare Committees are important decentralized bodies. All the stakeholders should ensure strengthening and proper functioning of CWCs.
  • Some sort of certification like “This product does not involve child labour” should be implemented, encouraged, and incentivized for the industry to refrain from employing child labour.


Mr. Samir Dudhgaonkar, Ex Vice President, Maharashtra Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture

  • The organised sector does not employ child labour; but it is observed more in the unorganised sector.
  • The youth are educated but unwilling to work and there is no dignity of work, due to which the employers are facing shortage of labour, which may encourage them to employ child labour that is available more easily and at a cheaper rate. Efforts should be made to mobilise the youth and meet the workforce demand of the industry.
  • Any child out of school is a potential child labour.
  • The government officers should have a Role-based work approach instead of a Rule-based approach.
  • Not only the industry and the government, but the society should also take the responsibility to stop child labour.


Mr. Ramakant Satapathy, Save The Children

  • 140 years ago, we had the first mention of prohibiting child labour in the law. Several laws have been enacted since then, but the implementation is not effective to stop child labour. It is a failure of the society and the government for existing laws not being implemented effectively.
  • The government departments conduct raids on establishments employing child labour, but the conviction rate is very low. Sensitization of the Police, the Public Prosecutor and the Labour Inspector is very important for improved rate of conviction through better understanding of changing laws and proper documentation.
  • Authentic and sufficient data on child labour is not available as the definition of child labour is very complex. Also, the census data is not updated and linked, hence cannot be used for comparison. The only effective way of estimating the number of child labour is by considering all out-of-school children to be child labour.
  • Civil Society Organisations should advocate for effective survey and data collection by the government or try and build alternate data collection methods on their own.
  • There are 32 hotspots in India where the proportion of child labour is substantially high. Although none of these hotspots are situated in Maharashtra, the state is still one of the 5 states in India with 55% of the total child labour cases, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh being other major contributors. Most of the child labour victims belong to tribal communities.
  • The child labour situation will further worsen in post Covid period. We should immediately focus on activating all child protection and welfare committees at all levels. Vulnerable children should be linked with the welfare schemes. Learning continuity must be ensured considering the digital divide while the schools are closed. Child protection committees at the village and the ward levels need to be urgently activated as a prevention and response strategy to child labour.
  • Only a child labour free village will make a child labour free India.
  • A multi-stakeholder forum is highly recommended for effective and stricter implementation of laws prohibiting child labour.


Mr. Radhakrishna Deshmukh, Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL) Representative

  • Child labour is available easily and at a cheaper rate, hence some of the employers still prefer them despite strict provisions in the law prohibiting child labour.
  • There is a lot of confusion in the definition of a child and child labour in various laws. We should stick to the internationally accepted definition that anyone below 18 years is a child.
  • All the local child protection and welfare mechanisms need to be strengthened and activated for totally eradication of child labour.

    After the panel discussion, Mr. Atul Bhalerao from CACL Maharashtra presented the Charter of Demands as below -

  1. The campaign urges the governments to retract from the efforts to dilute the labour laws because that can put the families of workers into greater insecurities and further impoverishment, pushing more children into the labour market.
  2. Abide by the commitments, we had taken while being part of the formulation of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Restrategize and start working towards achieving Target 8.7 which aims to “secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms”.
  3. Provide incentives to employers and investors to rebuild the economy, instead of allowing cheap labour and child labour, which is a counterproductive measure and puts the country on a back step.
  4. Provide free and compulsory quality education upto the age of 18 years.
  5. Enhance schemes like NREGA and plan similar options for the urban poor, and work towards better social security for informal workers, so that families are able to mainstream children into formal education.
  6. Follow and tap data points for migrating families and facilitate easier ways of enrolling children in schools that will automatically prevent potential child labourers.

Various stakeholders, including civil society organizations, social activists, journalists, teachers, parents, and children attended this webinar and panel discussion through Zoom meeting and Facebook Live. The State Convenor of Campaign Against Child Labour, Ms. Alicia Tauro moderated the panel discussion. Ms. Sonali More presented a vote of thanks. The Campaign Against Child Labour will follow up on the suggestions and actions discussed in the programme as a part of their ongoing efforts to eradicate child labour.

For more details, contact:

CACL Maharashtra - 9892459833 / 9226104518


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