Task Force To Examine Maternal Mortality Rate

Question by: Mohanbhai Kalyanji Kundariya and Dipsinh Shankarsinh Rathod

  1. whether the Government has set up a task force to examine matters pertaining to age of motherhood imperative of lowering Maternal Mortality Ratio, improvement of nutrition levels and related issues;
  2. if so, the details thereof;
  3. whether the movement against child labour is required to be made a public movement; and
  4. if so, the manner in which it is likely to be made public movement?

Answer by: Minister of Women and Child Development (Shrimati Smriti Zubin Irani)

A Task Force was constituted by the Government vide notification dated 4th June, 2020 to examine the correlation of age of marriage and motherhood with

  1. health, medical well-being and nutritional status of mother and neonate/infant/child, during pregnancy, birth and thereafter,
  2. key parameters like Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), Total Fertility Rate (TFR), Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB), Child Sex Ratio (CSR) etc. and
  3. any other relevant points pertaining to health and nutrition in this context and to suggest measures for promoting higher education among women.
  • Child Labour is an outcome of various socio-economic problems such as poverty, economic backwardness and illiteracy. The Government has taken various steps for elimination of child labour comprising legislative measures, project based rehabilitation and emphasis on universal elementary education.
  • Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 has been amended in 2016. The amended Act is now called the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 which inter-alia provides for complete prohibition of work or employment of children below 14 years of age in any occupation and processes and prohibition of adolescents in the age group of 14 to 18 years in hazardous occupations and processes. The Act also provides for stricter punishment for employers for violation of the Act and has made the offence as cognizable. The Rules framed under the Act, provide for District Nodal Officer (DNO) and Task Force at district level under chairpersonship of District Magistrate to ensure that the provisions of the Act are properly enforced.
  • In addition, Section 370 in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 defines trafficking in persons including children for the purposes of exploitation including physical exploitation, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude etc. as an offence. Further, as per Section 2(14)(ii) the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, children who are found working in contravention of labour laws for the time being in force, have been defined as children in need of care and protection and are entitled to proper care, protection, development and rehabilitation through the processes and institutional set ups provided under the Act.
  • The Ministry of Labour and Employment is implementing the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme for rehabilitation of child labourers. Under the NCLP Scheme, the children in the age group of 9- 14 years are rescued / withdrawn from work and enrolled in the NCLP Special Training Centres to provide bridge education, vocational training, mid-day meal, stipend, health care, etc. before being mainstreamed into formal education system. The children in the age group of 5-8 years are directly linked to the formal education system through a close coordination with the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan. An online portal- “PENCIL (Platform for Effective Enforcement of No Child Labour)” has also been developed for better monitoring.
  • The steps taken by the Government for abolition of child labour have resulted in reduction of child labour in the age group of 5-14 years in the country from 57.79 lakh in 2001 to 43.53 lakhs in 2011 (as per the figures of 2001 and 2011 census respectively).

Source : Civil Services Chronicle Online, August, 2021