With an increasing inflow of migrant workers from Andhra Pradesh and Central India pouring into Chennai, there has been an acute problem in assimilating these workers and their families into welfare programmes of the State. The deplorable condition of the migrant workers and their families take a heavy toll on their children who are left unattended, lose out on education and are often forced into child labour. Unorganized Workers Federation, along with affiliated unions, NGOs and activists organized a One –Day seminar on Migrant Children. The Seminar held on 28th Jan 2013, was presided by Ms Neena Nayak, member of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). Over 300 children from different states of India, presented their problems and experiences about health, education, Food security, and housing. These were contextualised by presentations by activists and academicians. The recommendations submitted by the organizations focussed on the need to set up an Inter Departmental Migrant Cell to address the issue of migrant families and migrant children. They also evolved department wise recommendations as the issue was multi departmental in nature. The organizations demanded implementation of the Draft Action Plan on Migrant Child Labour that was drafted during the previous regime and has thus far been neglected. Ms Neena Nayak gave the concluding remarks in which she discussed the recommendations and promised her support to take necessary steps towards addressing the pertinent issue of protecting social and civic rights of the Migrant Children.
Find below the list of recommendations as evolved at the seminar
To achieve normal growth and development of migrant children, the following measures should be immediately implemented by Government of Tamil Nadu
- To prevent exploitation and to provide identity, education – health – food rights and formation of inter Departmental migrant cell to Migrant Child Labour there is urgent need for the state govt. to implement Draft Action Plan on Migrant Child Labour evolved during the previous regime and not implemented.
- Child friendly environment to be ensured in Parents work sites / labour camps and residential areas
- Registration of Migrant Labour families and ensure PDS – Education and Health facilities.
- Right to Education of Migrant Children in mother tongue to be ensured upto 18 years
- Setting up of crèches for 0 -3 and Anganwadis in Worksites and Residential Areas in Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram Districts immediately
- Antenatal, Post natal care to child bearing mothers, immunization to children and overall health care to be provided to Migrant Labour families.
- Compulsory Registration of all Migrant Workers in TNCWWB without Revenue Department interference and through TUs and provision of crèche – Education, Mobile Health care & Medical camps by TNCWWB
- Provision of Release certificates and Rehabilitation measures including caste certificates, Residential school facilities to rescued Irula Bonded Labourers of Cuddalore District, and filing of cases against the agent and employer;
- Enquiry into cases of trafficking of Irula Bonded children to various workplaces in Mumbai and states
- Children census taken every year in the month of May/ December should include Migrant Children in villages, Construction sites brick kilns stone quarries rice mills etc.
- CWC Monitoring of incidents of violence on Migrant Children
- To form Interstate Migrant Cell for identification and tracking of Migrant children.
- Formation of Civil Society Monitoring Group on Migrant Children
- Provision of shelters to pavement children in Chennai as per the Supreme Court order
- Promotion of insitu development of slums and if necessary slum displacement to nearby areas and relocation to far off places should be stopped.
- Child rights to be protected in resettlement colonies
- Proper implementation of Building and other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act 1996 provisions and Supreme court orders for construction workers to cover Migrant Children including safety, abolition of child Labour, compulsory registration in welfare Board and amendment for special provisions on Migrant Children and for smart card to be valid all over the country
- Implementation of Inter- State Migrant workers’ Act 1979 and Campaign for amendment in the Interstate Migrant Worker’s Act to cover all Inter- state migrant workers and for special provisions on migrant children’s Education – Health – Food Rights
- Provision of PDS in bulk for 6 months to Inter District Migrants as in Maharashtra.
- Govt Relief to be provided to Rape victims among Migrant Children
- Identification of Bonded Labour in Construction, Brick kilns, stone quarries, etc through involving organisations working with Bonded Labourers ; Steps to be taken in Tamil Nadu for Identification, Release and rehabilitation of Bonded Labourers.
- Campaign for amendment to Child Labour Act to ban all Child Labour with age less than 18 years and implementation through Mobile Courts Summary trials and Rehabilitation.