Times of India, New Delhi
Agnivesh criticises UN stand on
Indian policies against child labour
New Delhi: The
genteel atmosphere at the United Nations launch of its position
paper on child labour on Friday was ruffled when social activist
Swami Agnivesh chose to stray from the trodden path. Instead of
the predictable effusive remarks, Swami Agnivesh, in his inimitable
gentle manner, pulled up the UN for not being sufficiently
critical of the Indians in eliminating child labour in the country.
common position paper, formally launched by UN resident co-ordinator
Brenda Gael Mc-Sweeney, at a function here, highlighted that
India accounted for the largest number of child workers in the
world and that the UN organisations would help agencies, individuals
and communities engaged in eliminating child labour in the country
and coordinate their work.
on the occasion, Swami Agnivesh, asked, "Why is the UN position
paper so soft on the government," adding that the government
has failed miserably in taking any effective measures in tackling
the menace of child labour in the country. Swami
Agnivesh, who has been working for years in the area of bonded
and child labour, said he accepted that the UN agencies have their
limitations but they could pose awkward questions to the government.
said, the UN bodies could ask the government as to why it has
not earmarked sufficient resources to deal with this problem or
why there are not enough schools to accommodate the out-of school
out at the government, he said it lacked commitment on this issue
and even the necessary laws spoke of prohibiting child labour
and not eliminating it.
is stopping the government from amending the law?" he asked
and castigated the PM and the HRD minister for not giving any
firm commitment on making elementary education a fundamental right.
government, he maintained had also failed to effectively implement
the Convention on Child Rights (CRC),
stating that the authorities invariably submitted false reports
in this regard to the UN which accepted these unquestioningly.