On the occasion of International Day Against Child Labour, which he worked to institute over 2 decades ago on 12th June, Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi today opened up on the journey to eliminate child labour, the struggles in his long journey of activism for children's rights with the 'Bachpan Bachao Andolan' and how he offered his Nobel Prize to India as its national prize, and not his own. He also explained how his organisation has helped children tide over the devastation of the COVID crisis. The Nobel Prize awardee was speaking at a program - “Consultation on Elimination of Child Labour amid COVID-19 Pandemic” organised by Bachpan Bachao Andolan in association with Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation.
Giving a clarion call for 'Team India Against Child Labour', Kailash Satyarthi urged all ministries, institutes, civil society etc to work together with a shared objective.
In his address, he said, "How can we leave our children behind and think of the country's development? This would be against humanity. COVID-19 pandemic has made children more vulnerable and an alarming increase in child labour has been reported during the last 4 years as well even before the pandemic hit. We need to take new bold steps and add health as the fourth wheel of our work on child protection, which includes the right to education, poverty elimination and eradication of child labour."
"I urge the government to make Right To Health a Fundamental Right and make adequate budgetary allocations for health and education needs of children," he added.
On what the youth can do to further the cause of eradication of child labour He calls child labour "a stain on our dream of a thriving, mahaan Bharat", and emphasises how it must be eradicated from its roots. For this he says, the youth can play a major part- especially by using the power of social media for good.
Besides, Maharashtra Minister for Labour and Employment, Santosh Gangwar supporting Satyarthi’s call on bringing stakeholders together as “Team India Against Child Labour”, he said, "As the Labour Minister I am focussed on bringing justice and access to rights by all children. As COVID-19 is leading to rise in cases of child labour, we have to ensure child protection. It is one of our government's top priorities to meet the goals and targets on ending child labour."
"Over the last few years, we have taken some important steps in this regard. We have to ponder over how we can provide access to education and health and care to children, who have been affected by COVID-19. I look up to the action points coming from Shri Satyarthi and his organisation and work towards including them in our future roadmap," the minister added.
Representatives of various government agencies, law enforcement bodies and civil society members participated in the deliberations and drew up an action plan mapping the road ahead to eliminate child labour.