Hyderabad, June, 12, 2020 :: The very visible fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic is the reverse migration, which, experts say, could end up being hard to reconcile with, given the importance of migrant workers to the Indian economy. “In a recent note, Crisil estimates that India has a workforce of 46.5 crore individuals. Of this, around 41.5 crore individuals work in the informal sector of the economy, where no social security benefits are available. There are thousands of migrant labourers, including their children and other family members who have been forced to take on unprecedented journeys after a lockdown was imposed in the country to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic. More than 90,000 migrants have returned to Odisha. Children are mostly affected in this whole situation. They are out of school and many of them are clueless.
To address the state specific child labour issues, a virtual panel discussion was organised by Save the Children on 12th June from 4.30 to 5.30 pm. Eminent panelists were young changemakers (Salini Sahu from Odisha and Master Razib from Telangana), Mr. Antony Sebastian, Chairperson, Karnataka SCPCR, Ms. Hymavathi, Chairperson, Andhra Pradesh SCPCR and Mr. J. Srinivas Rao, Chairperson, Telangana SCPCR. The panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Vikas Gora, Deputy Director (South), Save the Children and the host for the day was Ms Prasanthi Bathina, Sr Programme Manager- AP & Telangana.
While sharing the concerns on child labour issues in Odisha, the Chairperson of Odisha SCPCR, Ms. Sandhyabati Pradhan said, “All Civil societies and partners should come forward to support the children from migration, Reverse migration and children in street situations during this COVID-19 Pandemic. She further mentioned that all district collectors and PRI leaders should ensure the Quarantine Centers are Child Friendly with good hygiene, nutrition and recreation to keep children engaged.”
The Chairperson of Telangana SCPCR, Mr. J. Srinivas Rao said “Sabke Saath Bachomka Vikas… Coordinated and synergetic efforts of all stakeholders alone can help us work in the best interest of the Children”
Listening to the Chairperson of Karnataka SCPCR, Mr. Antony Sebastian mentioned, “COVID Pandemic pushed the families to extreme poverty, starvation and so children are compelled to work. Hence, Child labour should not be looked at isolation and cannot be seen from a criminal lens. No common phenomena to work. The implementation strategy to be looked from poverty and economic angle and needs holistic approach”
The Chairperson of Andhra Pradesh SCPCR, Ms. Hymavathi said “Hon’ble Chief Minister very keen about children rights and survival and introduced many child centric programs. However, Panchayats have to take responsibility to track each child status to ensure children enrolment to Schools and no child labour. And the functional Civil Society Organizations, Networks, CBOs facilitate the parents to join children into the schools”
Mr. Vikas Gora, Deputy Director-South India, Save the Children, said, “We are closely working with State Commission For Protection Of Child Rights across India to address various issues pertaining to child labour issues due to Covid-19 pandemic. We need to keep children at the centre while preparing for state action plan so that we are able to protect a generation. We believe in collective efforts in finding solutions and we value our partnerships with state SCPCRs as well as other Govt. Departments.”