Rural Karnartaka indicates a change for the working girl child in the state

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Bangalore: According to the latest available figure released by government instances of child labor in Karnataka has reduced by 49 percent. This wave of change is been led by rural Karnataka with almost 56 percent of decline in terms of child labour instances in that sector. However nearly 2 million girl child in Karnataka are battling their childhood consumed by the agriculture, forest and in urban set-ups. The fight against child labour needs to continue till we can ensure right of childhood for the last child of our nation and mitigate this problem completely.

Gender specific child labour roles see a girl child mostly working in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors amounting to almost 62.8 percent. The next highest sectors with the largest number of working girls is Arts, Entertainment and recreation, Activities of Households as Employers, Undifferentiated Goods and Services and related sector taking another chunk of more than a quarter (27.9 percent) of working girls.

Child Rights and You (CRY) has been one of strongest voices for children and working in tandem with local bodies to ensure that this problem can be fought. Raichur which is second in terms of total number of working girls fall among CRY’s intervention area where the organization has been working to bring long terms sustained changes.

In Karnataka, CRY is working intensively on a targeted 99 villages or slum areas out of which 52 of them are in Raichur. CRY has been successful in reaching out to 12882 children between 0-18 years out of which 6312 of them are girls in the last one year.

In the domain of CRY’s working area there are still 1050 number of children engaged in child labour activities and 127 of them are from the troubled district of Raichur where instances of girl children working are more

CRY believes in long term and sustainable change. Spreading awareness and convincing the family on the importance of education and thereby discouraging them from engaging their child from any form of labour is the first layer of intervention. This is circumferenced by promoting education in the area. From upgrading existing schools to setting up of schools in that area is taken with utmost importance. Also, providing services like transport and tracking of families from a door-to-door approach is been taken up to ensure positive results.

CRY’s experience working on the issue for a long time shows that under the purview of labour all children might not be covered due to exemptions in law, lack of societal willingness to come and discuss about this issue and unavailability of a child due to their long engagements with work and study making the data an indication than an actual representation of the problem.

At CRY we don’t segregate children in terms of age and have a no-tolerance attitude towards child labour. Our experience shows that lot of instances of child labour go unnoticed. There are children who are working before and after going to school and thus being exposed to unparalleled mental and physical strain. We need to provide education and bring awareness within the family bring a systematic change,” said Suma Ravi,

Regional Director of Child Rights and You (CRY).

In the hindsight, there is another worrying trend that shows child labour in Karnataka is becoming increasingly urbanized, with a close to 56 percent increase in girls engaged in labour activities over the last decade 2001-2011. The worrisome data is backed by the highest number of girl child working being from Bangalore.

The top 5 districts for working girls between 5-14 years in Karnataka are given below. Together these 5 districts account for 45% of the working girls in the state.

No: of working girls

Bangalore

29069

Raichur

14705

Bellary

13882

Yadgir

13812

Belgaum

13301

Overall picture:

10.13 million child laborers are between 5-14 years in India (2011 Census data). Child labour in 2011 has decreased by around 20% from 2001 Census Figures. When compared with the 2001 figure percentage of girls and boys decreased by 23% and 17% respectively in 2011 .

Karnataka is the state with 9th highest no of working children, accounting to almost 4.2% of all working children in India