We talk a lot about women liberation, eradication of child labour, social justice- so many, so forth, but do a little practically to achieve the target. There is lot of hue & cry regarding the increasing child labour menace, but day by day the situation is going to be the worst. It means somewhere at some point we have tremendous lacuna which is adversing the situation. In this connection of child labour problem, North-East has the worst record. As many as six lakh child labourers are there in North- East engaged in different sectors according to National Child Labour Project (NLCP).
Assam being the first runner state among the North- East states is also front runner in child labour deployment having the dubious distinction of the highest number. The figure is close to three & half lakhs. Meghalaya comes second having around half a lakh child labour. Nagaland has around forty-five thousand & Manipur has around twenty-nine thousand child labourers. Tripura follows next with around twenty- one thousand eight hundred & Arunachal Pradesh having nearly eighteen thousand and Sikkim being the lowest having around sixteen thousand child labourers. After 2001 census the Centre launched the National Child Labour Elimination Project. Under this programme children engaged in hazardous industries are provided with vocational training, nutrition, stipend & health care support before they are brought into the regular education system. The project also covers families of child labourers in general development programmee & strict enforcement of the child labour prohibition & regulation Act.
An estimation tells that there are 150 million child labourers in our country. As many as 45,000 children go missing every year while 47 percent are malnourished and 74 percent children between six & twenty-five months are suffering from anaemia. From this figure the condition of children of free & democratic India can well be understood. It seems that many children from missing lot really might be engaged in hazardous & protected industries without the knowledge of outside world. The plight of child labourers do not just end here, many of them have been sexually abused too. So perhaps project law implementing agencies are not doing enough to punish the people involved in engaging this tiny buds into child labourship. The law of the land must be hard & strict enough to punish the culprits & give support to the victimized children , so that the menace can be reduced to minimum.