Provincial Minister for Labour and Human Resource Raja Ashfaq Sarwar has said that the delegates from different countries particularly South Asia and Middle East have lauded the efforts of Punjab government in eliminating child labour from the brick kilns of the province, enrolment of brick kiln workers’ children to schools, provision of stipend through Khidmat Cards along with free education, books, uniforms, shoes and stationary.
He expressed these views while congratulating Secretary Labour and HR Nawazish Ali who participated in the Annual Global Labour Conference held in Geneva where the global community was given briefing regarding the measures taken by Punjab government for welfare of the labour community and policies particularly related to the elimination of child labour and the work on labour rights.
Only the Punjab province participated in the conference sending their representatives including Present Secretary Labour Nawazish Ali and his predecessor Ali Sarfraz Hussain. The minister said that the participants of the conference were briefed by the representatives from Punjab regarding robust measures being taken for elimination of the child labour declaring it a criminal offense as more than 8000 inspections of the brick kilns were made whereas more than 500 brick kiln owners were arrested and 213 convicted by courts.
The participants of the conference were informed that due to the steps taken by Punjab government, the incidence of child labour at brick kilns has dropped from 28 per cent to less than 2 per cent. To encourage the enrolment of children at schools, an initiative of Rs. 2000 per family at time of enrolment whereas monthly stipend of Rs. 1000 per child has been ensured along with provision of free education, books, uniforms and other educational facilities, he added.
As a result of this strategy, most children have been enrolled and more than 7000 Khidmat Cards for cash transfers have been provided after due verification. The minister further informed that the issuance of computerised CNIC to brick kilns workers for distribution of Khidmat Cards has been ensured.
The key factors for the success were clear political commitment, use of android technology for geo-tagging of brick kilns and collection of data of workers and their children, a robust MIS system which geo-tag and time stamps the inspecting offices and provision of social security support.