A proposal moved by the state labour department to reward those who help rescue child labourers across Maharashtra, has been caught in red tape for almost nine months now. While the state government is still sitting on the scheme, the Gujarat state labour department officials have shown interest in implementing the proposed scheme in their state, said government sources.
The scheme called Chacha Nehru, suggests rewards at the state, division and the district level, for those actively involved in rescuing child labourers or any NGO, government official (except those from the labour department) or any other individual, who can give a tip-off to the police/ government officials about child labourers, that can lead to a rescue of a minimum of five children at a time.
As per the proposal, the person or the organisation, who would be instrumental in rescuing the maximum number of children in the state would be awarded a prize money of Rs1 lakh, with Rs50,000 and Rs25,000 being handed to the ones, who come second and third respectively.
Rs50,000, Rs25,000 and Rs10,000 would be given to those at the division level, and based on the number of children they rescued directly or indirectly. Maharashtra has six divisions.
Following the division level, the one who can rescue the maximum number of child labourers at the district level will be awarded Rs25,000, followed by Rs10,000 and Rs5,000, for those who come second and third.
The cost involved in this proposal is about Rs40 lakh, along with the administrative charges, a small amount in the Maharashtra state government.
While the proposal is yet to see the light of the day in the state, the Gujarat government has reportedly shown interest in implementing it in the state.
At the recent Western Region Round Table Conference on 'Extend Social Protection -Combat Child Labour' in Gujarat on June 6, the Gujarat government officials had reportedly shown interest in the scheme and sources said they might even implement it in their state, before the Maharashtra government.
A senior official from the labour department of the Gujarat government confirmed the news. "We try and replicate good things from other states. We have a couple of queries on the scheme, following which we could replicate the model," said an official from the labour department of Gujarat government.
Arvind Kumar, principal secretary of labour department, confirmed the move and said, "The aim of the proposal was to motivate people to come forward to take part in the process of eradicating the problem of child labour in the state," Kumar said.
"The labour department is already pushing for the scheme. We will identify the hindrances, and will try to expedite the process," he added.