MUMBAI/RANCHI: Technology might soon play a role in ending child labour in India's mica belt and getting kids enrolled in school. After surveying Jharkhand's Koderma and Giridih districts -- where illegal mining is rampant and children work alongside their parents to put food on the table -- members of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) suggested that attendance in oneKoderma school be monitored.
"We have told the district collector that we would like to do a pilot project where we track attendance digitally," says Priyank Kanoongo from the NCPCR.
"We are a monitoring authority, so if the model is successful, we can suggest that it be implemented in other places," he said.
The two-member NCPCR team, comprising Kanoongo and Yashwant Jain, also warned mica traders that they could be prosecuted as employers under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, if caught buying the mineral from a minor. "One high court judgement defined child labour as employing a child for monetary gain, which is what is happening when children gather mica scraps and sell them to local dealers."
Technology integration to help fight poverty: Kant
NCPCR visited Jharkhand last weekend following media reports highlighting the issue including one published in TOI in April -- 'The lost childhood of India's mica minors'. While in Koderma, NCPCR representatives attended 'Bal Samvad' (Children's Voice), a programme organized by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), an NGO working to rescue children from this industry since 2005.