Fr. Godfrey D’Sa sdb
Some highlights of the Consultation were:
- Using the J.J. Act as central, amalgamate all other child related laws and create a new Child Protection Act.
- Transfer the responsibility for children (everyone below the age of eighteen) from the Labour Department to the Department for Women and Child Welfare and work towards strengthening this Department.
- Presently the entire process of Re-Integration of children after rescue is weak. Work towards building a comprehensive plan which will support the re-integration of children into mainstream society.
- Use the provisions allowed in the Children’s Act and insist on creating Children’s Courts. This will enable fast track prosecution as well as create greater sensitivity towards vulnerable children.
- Right across all Departments of the State, it must be unanimously accepted that a child is anyone who has not completed eighteen years of age.
- Scrape the term “Child Labour” and instead use a more inclusive term “Working Child”.
- To create groundswell and increase awareness, focus on sustained advocacy by regularly raising questions on children in the Assembly, insisting on budgetary provisions for children and writing in the newspapers about the plight of working children.
A spark has been ignited and Balprafulta along with many others wish that this spark turns not only into a flame, but grows into a fire that will purge away the exploitation our children suffer under the hands of unscrupulous employers. A unanimous cry from all the participants was to work towards making Maharashtra a ‘Child Labour Free State.’