National Child Labour Project Scheme - Indian Polity Schemes

The National Child Labour Project Scheme is one of the schemes introduced by the Central Government as a solution for the current situation of child labour in India. It is a topic which comes under ‘vulnerable sections’ and is important for the Governance and Social Justice segments in the UPSC Syllabus.

What is Child Labour?

  • Child Labour refers to the exploitation of children for any form of work which would deprive them of gaining equal access to education and a normal childhood.
  • This results in the victimized child being used mostly for physically, socially and mentally harmful work.
  • India currently is home to more than 10 million child labourers, despite the various legislations and efforts taken in this direction by the Indian Government.
  • The elimination of child labour is essential to achieve the set developmental goals of the government by 2030.

Government Laws against Child Labour

  • The government has laid down multiple rules governing the enforcement of child labour and is taking active measures to eradicate this practice.
  • Gurupadswamy Committee, in 1979, was a statutory committee formed by the Central Government of India, which found that the inextricable reason behind child labour in India was linked directly to Poverty. The committee’s findings and analysis was then utilized to enact the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 by the union government. 
  • Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Act, of 2016 is an amendment of the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 which has placed a complete prohibition on the employment of underage children, especially in hazardous situations or occupations. It has also interconnected the prohibition of employment with access to free education as per the Right to Education Act of 2009.
  • India was the 170th member of the International Labour Office (ILO) to agree with the Convention No. 138. This convention requires member parties to set a minimum age under which no person should be employed. India also agreed with the Convention No. 182 which requires state parties to eliminate and prohibit any forms of extreme child labour activities such as trafficking, use of children in armed conflict, prostitution and in illicit activities.
  • INDUS Project: Government of India and the US Department of Labour had jointly collaborated to form the INDUS Project which aimed at preventing and eliminating child labourers, especially from hazardous occupations. It was developed under ILO-IPEC( International Labour Organization- International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour).
  • National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme: This is a scheme by the central government of India to facilitate rehabilitation of child labourers and to aid their introduction to formal education with vocational training at NCLP Centres. 

National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme

It is a Central Government Scheme which has been devised to tackle the issue of child labor is a more effective manner by focussing on specific target ideas, identifying the victims, withdrawing them from hazardous situations, focussing on their rehabilitaion and meanwhile spreading awareness on the functionalities of NCLP and the other agencies on child labour to the families of the child labourers. 

Objectives of NCLP:

  • It aims at the expulsion of child labour in all forms possible through a sequential basis of:
    • Identification of children in child labour in the project area.
    • Withdrawing the identified children.
    • Preparation of the withdrawn children for introduction to mainstream education by providing necessary vocational training.
    • Ensuring that they’re benefitted by the multitude of services provided by the different governments and agencies.
  • It aims at withdrawal of adolescent children from hazardous situations or occupations by
    • Identifying all adolescents and withdrawing them from the project area.
    • Facilitating training programmes for such adolescents through the skill development schemes which are currently existing.
  • It aims at raising awareness amongst the target communities and the other stakeholders regarding child labour about the functionality of NCLP.
  • To create a Child Labour Monitoring, Tracking and Reporting System to stay updated with the situation.

NCLP Target Group:

  • The scheme focuses on all the child workers below the age of 14 in the target areas, adolescent workers below 18 years of age engaged in hazardous occupations and also on the families of the child workers in that specific target areas.
  • The children would be eased into local schools after providing necessary bridging programmes.
  • The adolescent children in hazardous work would be given skill enhancement training and shifted to non-hazardous work.
  • The delivery of income/stipend, employment or social security to the families of child workers will be ensured by the government. The tracking of the rescued child workers will be done to follow up for evaluation of impact. 
  • The child labour laws will be stepped up according to the requirement in the required area.

NCLP Highlights/Features:

  • The Government contributes to the identification, classification, eradication, and withdrawal of children and adolescents from hazardous occupations.
  • Successfully mainstreaming the rescued children into proper local schools and affiliating them with Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
  • The adolescents will be provided with other skill enhancement training and transferred to permitted occupations.
  • Better awareness programs for the education of communities and the Indian public as a whole with the help of enhanced abilities.
  • Compensatory measures for the families who are releasing their children from working and allowing them to attend training or schools.
  • Mothers of such victimized children are often organized into self-help groups (SHG’s).

NCLP Implementation:

  • The scheme was successfully implemented through joint collaboration with civil society, state and district administration.
  • The responsibility is jointly handed to the respective state governments and the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
  • The scheme has been initially launched in areas of high cases of child labour and specific District Project Societies (DPS’s) have been set up at the district level to ensure proper implementation of the scheme at al levels.
  • District Project Society is also responsible for the stipend payment for the children and their families.

PENCIL PORTAL

A unique online portal was launched in 2017, by the government, called  PENCIL (Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour). It had been created under the NCLP scheme:

  • To ensure effective and easy implementation of the scheme.
  • It consists of a Child Tracking System and a Complaint corner.
  • The portal can connect the Central Government to respective State Governments, districts, to all project societies and finally to the general public.
  • The portal allows anyone to file a complaint regarding child labour.
  • The received complaints are automatically assigned to the concerned Nodal officer by the system immediately upon receiving the complaint to take further actions which might be necessary.
  • The portal has registered a total of 1010 complaints of which 361 have been updated as resolved by the Nodal officers.

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