Non-functioning of Childline helpline number 1098 causes serious concern. The children’s phone emergency outreach service (1098) has been out of order for the last few days.
“It is through the Childline services that cases and complaints regarding child labour get registered. The Labour department looks after the rescue operations,” a senior officer of the State Labour and Welfare department told Northeast Now. “There is no alternative helpline number,” the senior officer added.
Although many NGOs and government initiatives are raising awareness regarding the rights of children and against child labour, the non-functional helpline number is a cause of serious concern.
Childline was launched by Childline India Foundation (CIF) in 1996. It claims to be India’s only and most widespread toll free helpline number for children in need of care and protection. The Childline project across the country is supported by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS).
“It is a 24-hour service. Yet, sometimes new numbers are not undertaken by the helpline number. I will inform our Kolkata centre in order to resolve the problem immediately,” Guwahati Centre Coordinator of Childline, Nirmal Deka said.
The section 14 of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 states that any person who employs any child in contravention of the provisions of Section 3 of the Act is liable for punishment with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to one year, or with fine which shall not be less than Rs 10,000 but which may extend to Rs 20,000, or both.
Moreover, engaging a child below 14 years in any establishment including household work is considered a criminal offence as it violates their rights as provided by the Constitution of India.