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No Swacch Bharat without children’s rights: Kailash Satyarthi

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Kailash_Satyarthi_March_2015New Delhi: Nobel laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi on Monday said the Indian laws still do not define child labour in a definitive way and that ‘Swachh Bharat’ cannot be attained if children’s rights are not protected.

How can the country be ‘Swachh Bharat’ (Clean India) if childhood is not protected and children do not have access to quality education, Satyarthi asked while lauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ (Save girl child, educate girl child) campaign.

“Even if our country’s Gross Domestic Product is as high as 15 percent, it is still a challenge for India if children remain enslaved,” Satyarthi added while addressing a session on ‘Child rights and issues’ at the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“The Right to Education (RTE) Act has increased enrollment in schools, but drop-out rate has been equally high. This points to the need for quality education in our schools. The RTE is a fundamental right which opens the door to all other rights,” the Nobel Peace Prize winner laureate said.

According to a World Bank study, each dollar invested in education will give 15-fold returns in 20 years, he said, and sought from , the government, industries and civil societies liberal investments in children’s education.

Satyarthi is the founder of ‘Bachpan Bachao Aandolan’, an organisation aimed at protecting child rights.

“Child labour has to be defined in a more elaborate way under the law. Child labour within the family has remained a dicey aspect and has never been included under the Child Labour Act, which still has lacuna,” he said.

In cases where children help their family members at work, it should not be at the expense of their education, Satyarthi said.boy-330582_640

A child cannot be employed in hazardous conditions, despite being with family members, he said and added that the law has failed to include these areas under its ambit.

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act has a list of 18 hazardous occupations and 65 processes which, he said, should be retained in amendments.

India has the largest child population in the world and the government pegs the number of child labourers around 45 lakh, while non-governmental agencies fix this figure at more than five crore, the child rights activist remarked.

“All children up to the age of 18 are entitled to care and protection and access to education under the law. Unfortunately, this has not been done in the past, but we need to make sure it is enforced properly,” Satyarthi added.

On the proposed legislation on juvenile justice, Satyarthi said the amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act is very important in dealing with cases where juveniles have committed heinous crimes like rape or murder.

The bill seeks to lower from 18 to 16 years the culpable age of a juvenile to be tried as an adult for heinous crimes. (IANS)

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Childhood is that part of life which cannot be forgotten, if children have memories like exploitation, physical violence, workers at an early age, it becomes very difficult for them to come out of it. Therefore, steps should be taken to enforce the child laws strictly and immediately

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Childhood is that part of life which cannot be forgotten, if children have memories like exploitation, physical violence, workers at an early age, it becomes very difficult for them to come out of it. Therefore, steps should be taken to enforce the child laws strictly and immediately

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Vaccination Not Forced on Children: Delhi Health Authorities

The prime target, according to the Ministry, is immunising children in the pre-schools, school children from both government and private institutions and those out of school

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Vaccination
Vaccination not forced on children: Delhi health authorities. Flickr

The measles and rubella (MR) vaccination programme, which was deferred following an intervention by the Delhi High Court, does not override the consent of students, said state’s health authorities for the campaign.

“It is totally wrong to say that vaccination was administered without consent. Though there has never been the process of seeking permission for any vaccination from guardians, people are free to refuse vaccination as we don’t force anyone,” Dr Suresh Seth, Delhi programme chief for immunisation told IANS on Wednesday.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday deferred implementation of the “Measles and Rubella (MR) Vaccine Immunisation Campaign”, saying that vaccination cannot be administered “forcibly” and without the consent of parents.

The court’s order came while hearing pleas by parents of some minor students at city’s schools alleging that the MR campaign is a “violation of the fundamental rights” of the students as their consent had not been taken.

China, Vaccines
A child receives a vaccination shot at a hospital in Rongan in China’s southern Guangxi region on July 23, 2018. VOA

“We will comply with court’s orders. Our preparations are same and will start the very next day the high court gives clearance for the campaign,” Dr Seth said.

The Delhi Health Department will also share inputs with the Health and Welfare Family Ministry, which has been asked by the high court to respond by January 21.

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The measles and rubella vaccination campaign was scheduled to begin in the national capital from January 15, aiming at immunising nearly 55 lakh children in the age group of 9 months up to 15 years across 11 districts of Delhi.

The prime target, according to the Ministry, is immunising children in the pre-schools, school children from both government and private institutions and those out of school. (IANS)