| Information and public relations minister Brishin Patel inaugurates the workshop in Patna on Tuesday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
Most people pretend to be unaware of what child labour is despite being well aware of the social problem, information and public relations minister Brishin Patel said on Tuesday.
Addressing a workshop on the elimination of child labour and co-creating strategies with the media for awareness and advocacy here, the minister said: “All of us know what child labour is and what the Child Labour Act says. But we either neglect it or pretend to be unaware.”
The seminar was organised by the Bihar Commission for Protection of Child Right and Bihar Child Labour Commission and supported by Unicef.
Discussing the grassroots causes of child labour, Patel said: “It is important for us to concentrate on the problems and eradicate it.”
The Child Labour Act prohibits employment of children below 14 years in fields and regulates the condition of work in others. If any child is found working under any person or organisation, the employer could be fined between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000.
Ramdev Prasad, chairperson, Bihar Child Labour Commission, provided data about the number of prosecutions under the act.
“The raid team rescued 5,000 children recently but only 439 cases were logged,” he said.
Prasad also requested the state government to reserve 50 per cent seats for the rescued children in the private and public schools.
Bhuvan, a member of non-government organisation Bachpan Bachao Andolan, discussed the recent amendments to Child Labour Act.
“Employing children to work at a house as domestic help is also a cognisable offence,” he said, adding that in the coming session of Parliament, the child and adolescent labour prohibition bill would be passed.
According to the bill free education, medical facilities and economic rehabilitation would be provided to the rescued child labourers.
Labour officer of labour resource department Aparna Kumar said: “The media played very important role in rescuing children. They have provided space to the reports on trafficking and prostitution on children. But unawareness in rural and sub-urban areas is still a problem.”