Shillong: The Meghalaya State Legal Services Authority (MSLSA) Monday organized a webinar in observance of Child Labour Day on the topic “Child Labour Pre and Post Covid-19 Pandemic”. Aimed at generating awareness on issues surrounding child labour, the deliberations focused on the aggravated risk of school dropouts, forced labour, early marriages and trafficking caused due to the Covid -19 pandemic.
Speaking on the occasion, N A Khan, Member Secretary MSLSA cum District and Session Judge informed that the theme of World Day Against Child Labour 2021 is “Act Now and Child Labour” as the Covid 19 pandemic has pushed millions into poverty and child labour is a directly impacted by it. Besides the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic arising in increased poverty among low-income groups, the closure of schools has seen a rapid increase in child labour globally. Adding that a child cannot develop into a responsible and productive member of society unless his /she is brought up in an enabling environment, he informed that there are many constitutional provisions that prohibits children below the age of 14 from being engaged in labour and also to ensure that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner in an environment of freedom and dignity and are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.
Khan also lamented the fact that the increased child labour statistics caused due to the pandemic has un-done the past efforts of governments and stakeholders in mitigating child labour which is predominant in the society. He also stressed on the importance of adopting strategies ranging from enrollment, retaining children in schools, income generation avenues for adults, poverty eradication programmes, awareness programmes on universalization of primary education etc, to create an environment for the survival, growth and protection of children.
Other resource persons were P T Blah, Deputy Labour Commissioner, East Khasi Hills, Shillong who shared awareness on Child Labour in Meghalaya; Dr Andrew, Director DIESEL who spoke on the impact of Covid-19 Pandemic on school children and the responsibility of the Education Department to make sure that children will not leave school; Hasina Kharbhih, Director Impulse who spoke on the role of stakeholder in understanding Child Labour issues; Matti Warjri, DCPO who spoke on assisting vulnerable families and their children to access Social Protection Measure and Deepak Kumar Palecha, IPS Meghalaya who shared insights on the role of Police in Child Labour and increase in child trafficking as an impact of Covid 19 pandemic.