Close to 800 children in Karnataka have been rescued, rehabilitated and brought to mainstream by the Labour department under the National Child Labour Project Scheme in 2012-2013.
Sources in the department, while pointing out that the scheme primarily targets children working in hazardous working conditions, said that the problem of child labour continued to exist, especially in districts like Bijapur, Raichur, Dharwad, Koppal, Davangere, Belgaum, Bagalkot, Chitradurga, Bellary, Gulbarga, Kolar and Mandya.
“Both Bangalore Urban and Rural districts are plagued by the problem, given that they are regions of prosperity,” one of them said.
As part of the project, officials conduct surveys to identify children working in hazardous occupations and processes.
“These children are the target group. Of them, those in the age group of 5-8 years will have to be mainstreamed directly to formal educational system through the SSA, while working children in the age group of 9-14 years will have to be rehabilitated through NCLP schools,” the department maintains. At the special schools, the children rescued from hazardous processes/occupations are provided with bridge education, vocational training, nutrition, stipend, healthcare et al, for a maximum period of three years before being mainstreamed into the formal educational system. At present, the scheme is operational in 266 districts of 20 states in the country.
According to the statistics available with Deccan Herald, 742 children have been mainstreamed during 2012-13, while as many as 3,761 and 135 children were mainstreamed in 2011-12 and 2010-11, respectively. During the same time, the number of children mainstreamed in Andhra Pradesh stood at 1,858 (2010-11), 13,202 (2011-12) and 7,840 (2012-13), while it was 6,325, 5,127 and 3,537 in Tamil Nadu.
The scheme is not functional in Kerala, and the numbers for Maharashtra stand at 5,113, 4,532 and 4,954.
Another set of documents reveals that the Labour department, not as part of the said scheme, had conducted as many as 13,609, 11,593 and 7,174 inspections in 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively.
“Following the inspections, 479, 232 and 101 prosecutions were done for the three years, and as many as 112, 48, and 24 people have been convicted under relevant provisions in the law,” a source said.