National

Rajnath launches PENCIL portal against child labour

NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, September 26, 2017

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh launched the Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour (PENCIL) Portal at the National Conference on Child Labour here today.
PENCIL is an electronic platform that aims at involving Centre, State, District, Governments, civil society and the general public in achieving the target of a child labour free society, an official press release said.
Mr Rajnath Singh also launched the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the enforcement of legal framework against child labour. The SOPs are  aimed at creating a ready reckoner for trainers, practitioners and monitoring agencies to ensure complete prohibition of child labour and protection of adolescents from hazardous labour ultimately leading to Child Labour Free India.
After launching the portal, the Minister said any decent society could not allow child labour and India needed to take a resolve to eradicate child labour from the country. 
“With conviction and resolve, we can eradicate this menace. If India could attain freedom in five years after taking resolve of ‘Do or Die’ of Mahatma Gandhi during the Quit India Movement, then there is no reason why India cannot attain a child labour free society in the coming five years if the whole country gets united and takes resolve to do so.”
Childhood is the best period of an individual’s life gifted by God. However, one in every 10 children is involved in child labour and is not able to lead a normal life during his childhood, he added.
Mr. Rajnath Singh said ratification of treaties by India in this regard shows the resolve to eradicate child labour in a time-bound manner. Only a portal will not suffice, and greater social awareness is needed in this regard, he stressed.
He quoted the example of special drives undertaken under ‘Operation Smile’, where 70,000-75,000 children could be saved. He emphasised that for the success of PENCIL Portal, one month’s special drive in the country, even at block levels, is required, so that everybody becomes aware of it and acts in the direction of elimination of child labour.
Appreciating the Ministry of Labour and Employment’s efforts in releasing SOPs for enforcement agencies, he said it will help in the better implementation of the schemes, as many schemes are good at the formation stage, but are not being implemented in an effective manner on the ground due to lack of guidance.
Minister of State for Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar said that children are the country’s assets and its future. He said that due to short-term economic and social constraints, the income from child labour may appeal to be good, but in the long run, it is not so.
He said that keeping in mind the overall development of children, the employment of children under the age of 14 years is not allowed under the law for any occupation and for children between 14-18 years, the employment is not allowed in occupations that are harmful to their physical and mental health.
Mr Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace laureate and child rights activist, who was the guest of honour on the occasion, expressed happiness over the launch of the portal.
He emphasised that the top leadership should be involved in these campaigns. PENCIL and SOPs are important not only for India but also for the world in showing a new direction to them.
Mr Satyarthi said currently, he is on ‘Bharat Yatra’ to spread awareness and sensitise people on issues related to child sexual abuse and child trafficking. He also emphasised on the need for an institutional mechanism and exclusive courts for handling cases related to child sexual abuse.
Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment, M. Sathiyavathy said the Government has taken various initiatives and developed a legal framework to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of eliminating child labour by the year 2025.
She said that child labour has come down in India as per 2011 census as compared to 2001 census. A broad consultation was done with all the stakeholders before finalizing the amendments in central rules which was notified on 2nd June 2017.
“For the first time we have provided for prevention, rescue and rehabilitation of children in the central rules and institutional set up at the district level in the form up district task force. She said that SOPs will provide step by step guidelines and will be a ready reckoner for trainers, practitioners and monitoring agencies,” she added.
In a video message during the conference, Mr Guy Ryder, DG, ILO, congratulated India for its foresight and expressed the hope that India will play a critical role in supporting ILO’s efforts around the globe.
On the occasion, a short film on child labour and an animated detailed presentation on PENCIL portal were also shown.
The PENCIL Portal (pencil.gov.in) has various components, namely Child Tracking System, Complaint Corner, State Government, National Child Labour Project and Convergence.
The Districts will nominate District Nodal Officers (DNOs) who will receive the complaints and within 48 hours of receiving, they will check the genuineness of the complaint and take the rescue measures in coordination with police, if the complaint is found to be genuine. Till date, 7 states/UTs have appointed the DNOs.
The State Labour Ministers from Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Delhi, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Rajasthan participated in the conference. The conference was also attended by Labour Secretaries of the State, Secretaries of Central Ministries, District Nodal Officers as well as the Project Directors for National Child Labour Project (NCLP).
NNN
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