UNICEF lauds Bengal govt initiatives in curbing child labour

Kolkata, Jun 13 (PTI) UNICEF on Monday lauded the developmental schemes launched by the West Bengal government that are “helping curb child labour” and expressed hope that with this “continued momentum”, the problem will be a thing of the past.

The state government has put in place robust social protection schemes such as ‘Kanyashree’ and ‘Duare Sarkar’ (government at your doorstep), Soledad Herrero, Chief of Child Protection, UNICEF India, said on the sidelines of a programme to stop child labour and promote child rights and child protection held here.

‘Kanyashree’ scheme offers financial incentives to school-going girls and women pursuing higher education in college and university while ‘Duare Sarkar’ camps provide benefits of developmental schemes to the people in their locality.

A task force to eradicate child labour has been proposed in the state and a lot of good work is happening here, Herrero said.

“We are hopeful that with this continued momentum, the problem of child labour would be a thing of the past,” a release quoting him said.

State Labour Secretary Barun Kumar Ray said incidents of child labour have increased after the COVID-19 outbreak mainly because breadwinners lost their jobs and children considerably lost access to education during the pandemic period.

The task force would look into the reasons why children were dropping out of schools and formulate ways to bring them back to the educational institutions, he said.

Mohammad Mohiuddin, UNICEF chief officer for West Bengal, requested the state labour secretary for putting in place the task force which will ensure multi-sectoral convergence with the rollout of the action plan for ending child labour.

“West Bengal has one of the highest number of social protection schemes in India and now is the time for awareness building and community action to enhance the uptake of the schemes, and ensure that children are enrolled and retained in schools to complete their education,” he said.