July 26, 2016
Ratna De Nag speaks in LS on The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016
This is a very important Bill. Child labour is a global issue. Enforcement alone cannot solve it. Child labour can be stopped when knowledge is translated into legislation and action, moving good intention and ideas in protecting children’s health. Even after 69 years of independence, we are unable to stop child labour in our country. The reasons may be divided, but we cannot absolve ourselves from this scourge.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has not been ratified yet. It fixes the minimum age of employment at 18. We cannot leave our children out to be exploited under any circumstances and for whatsoever reason. I want to refer to a recent article by Kailash Satyarthi, India’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate and a child rights activist: “I make an earnest appeal to members of the Lok Sabha and beckon their conscience to recognise that politics isn’t merely about the next election but is also a moral obligation to the next generation.”
Hopeful happy smiles, soft hands, million dreams – is this not the identity of a child? Then why do I see tearful eyes, terrified faces, rough hands and shattered dreams? Deprived and overloaded with work, burdened with responsibilities at such a young age? So much to learn, so much to accomplish, but not given enough time. Fight for a cause, raise your voice. Stop child labour.
Put a smile back on their faces, give them the childhood that was stolen from them. Fight for a cause, raise your voice. Stop child labour.
Sir, this is the aim of our dearest Didi, the Hon’ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, of West Bengal.
Thank you very much, Sir, again.