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Introduction

The Government of Tamil Nadu has been in the forefront in the fight against the evil of child labour by taking a proactive stand on eradication of child labour by initiating measures to tackle the problem of child labour in a systematic and effective manner.  The Government has adopted multipronged strategy which includes both stringent legislative and project based approach. The concerted efforts taken by the State Government have resulted in perceptible decline of the number of child labour in the State.

Status of Child Labour

Due to effective enforcement, rescue and rehabilitative measures taken by the Government, the number of child workers have reduced to 1.51 lakh in 2011 census as against 4.19 lakh in the 2001 census.  SSA conducts out of School survey of every year during the month of May .  The details of survey for the past 5 years as indicated below.

S.No.   Year No of out of School Children  No.of Children under earning compulsion
1 2014-2015  43,024  5,323
2 2015-2016  43,455  3,127
3 2016-2017  41,034  2,340
4 2017-2018  36,930  2,320
5 2018-2019  33,519  1,732

Legal Provisions for Prohibition of child Labour

The Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and the Allied Acts prohibiting employment of Children are implemented in the State by the officers of Commissionerate of Labour and Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health. The Assistant Commissioners of Labour (Enforcement) are notified as District Nodal Officer vide G.O. (Ms) No.35, Labour and Employment (U1) Department, dated 14.03.2018.

Enforcement

In order to strengthen the enforcement, a District Level Task Force is functioning in the districts under the Chairmanship of the District Collector. The Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and the allied Acts prohibiting employment of children are implemented in the State by the officials of the Commissionerate of Labour and the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health.

The State has notified the Assistant Commissioners of Labour (Enforcement) as Nodal Officers for each district. In order to ensure complete prohibition of employment of children below 14 years, the Government of India has introduced a vibrant enforcement mechanism in the form of an online portal “PENCIL” (Platform for Effective Enforcement of No Child Labour).

Awareness Generation

12th June of every year is observed as “Anti Child Labour Day” to create awareness among the public. All districts have taken up various activities for awareness creation like oath taking in schools and government offices, rallies, human chains and awareness campaigns. At the State level,  “Anti Child Labour Day” - message from the Hon’ble Chief Minister is being published in various Tamil and English dailies. Mainstreamed students from National Child Labour Project Special Training Centres who scored high marks in 10th and 12th Standard Public Examinations are given cash awards and the best Special Training Teachers are also felicitated for their work.

During 2019-2020 at the State level Anti-Child Labour Day awareness meeting was held on 12.06.2019 in Amma Arangam, Corporation of Chennai. A special awareness Generation Programme was also conducted in which Hon’ble Minister for Labour, Principal Secretary to Government and cine celebrity Mr. Vijay Antony travelled with school children in the Metro Train.

NATIONAL CHILD LABOUR PROJECT (NCLP):-

       National Child Labour Project is implemented by a Project Society under the Chairmanship of the District Collector with the support of Government of India.  In Tamil Nadu, National Child Labour Project (NCLP) are functioning in 15 Districts Viz., Chennai, Coimbatore, Dindigul, Dharmapuri, Erode, Krishnagiri, Kancheepuram, Namakkal, Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli, Trichy, Thiruvannamalai, Salem, Vellore and Virudhunagar. Stipend of Rs. 400/- p.m., Educational materials, Free Medical check-up etc, are provided to children supported by NCLP.

Initiatives
State Action Plan A State Action Plan (SAP) for eradication of child and Adolescent Labour has been approved by the Government vide G.O. (Ms) No.8, Labour and Employment (U2) Department, dated 30/01/2019.  State Action Plan is aimed at providing guidelines to the Enforcement officials and the role of the other line departments and suggest implementation measures which will result in the elimination of  child / adolescent labour in the State.

Standard Operating Procedure

In order to achieve uniformity and certainty, information on steps to be taken for identification, rescue, rehabilitation and effective implementation of the Act need to be provided to the enforcement officers. Therefore, simple step by step Standard Operating Procedure is developed for creating awareness, conducting survey, rescue and rehabilitation of child and adolescent labour in Tamil Nadu and to ensure effective enforcement of the Act has been approved by the Government vide G.O. (Ms) No.58, Labour and Employment (U2) Department, dated 28/06/2019.

State Rules on the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 2016.

After the introduction of new amendments in the Child Labour Act, for smooth and effective implementation of the Act, the Government of Tamil Nadu has initiated action by amending the Tamil Nadu Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Rules, 1994 vide G.O. (Ms) No.220, Labour and Employment Department, dated 15.11.2019 and  the same was published in the Tamil Nadu Gazette No.52, dated 25.12.2019.

Welfare Schemes

The child / Adolescent Labour families are given priority in the existing poverty alleviation and self  employment schemes.  The parents  of the child/adolescent labour are registered in the relevant unorganized workers welfare boards.

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