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Just break the silence over child labour: Kailash Satyarthi

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Child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi speaking with IANS-wefornews
IANS PHOTO

New Delhi, July 23 

Kailash Satyarthi has been a campaigner for child rights nationally and internationally for three decades. His Bachpan Bachao Andolan has had particular focus on freeing children who are forced into exploitative labour or servitude.

His work has been amply recognised and honoured, particularly internationally. In 2014, Satyarthi shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan.

While top awards have crowned his efforts, they have not capped them. His campaign against child labour continues.

He is currently working to launch a campaign called ‘Hundred Million for Hundred Million’ which is aimed at the youth across the world.

Satyarthi spoke with IANS about his life and work. His message to the ordinary folk is: Just break the silence over child labour.

IANS: In addition to your long-term campaign against child servitude, what have you been doing nowadays?

Satyarthi: Currently I am preoccupied with getting amendments introduced to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill that Rajya Sabha passed on July 19.

Kailash Satyarthi speaking with IANS-wefornews
The Bill has two main faults. Firstly, it reduces the number of industries considered hazardous for children from 83 to just three.

And secondly, it allows children below 14 to engage in home-based work. So the families will be allowed to use children in such work.

These two faults should be removed before the Bill is considered for passage by the Lok Sabha.

IANS: What else have you been doing?

Satyarthi: I have been planning to launch a campaign called ‘Hundred Million for Hundred Million’. There are about 100 million children, youth and girls in the world who are victims of violence, malnutrition, sexual exploitation or are not receiving any education.

We want another 100 million young people — who have food, security, education and good prospects in life — to become the voice of their 100 million unfortunate counterparts.

We plan to reach out to the youth through social media, academia, and groups and associations of the young. The plan is to launch the campaign by the end of the year.

IANS: What event or moment in your life do you trace the start of your work against child labour?

Satyarthi: I was five and a half years old. It was my first day at school. Outside the school, I saw a boy of my age stitching shoes. The questions that I then asked of my teachers and family members did not receive any satisfactory answers.

As a child, I would raise money to help poor children pay their schools fees and buy books.

After completing my engineering, I worked only for a year and a half before deciding to make stopping child labour my life’s aim. My wife has helped me throughout in that work.

IANS: How has the Nobel Prize smoothed your way?

Satyarthi: Nobel Prize has made me much better known nationally and internationally. I no longer have to wait for months to get an appointment with a Indian or foreign leader.

I have now been meeting presidents, prime ministers and other top decision makers to take to their countries the work I do.

The issue I deal with belongs to the lowest of priorities of most societies. I have been successful in taking it to the top most echelons of decision makers. That also amounts to a great moral responsibility that I cannot avoid.

The most significant change that Nobel prize brought was the inclusion of child labour, child slavery, and violence against children in the millennium development goals.

IANS: What can an ordinary person do to stop child labour and how?

Satyarthi: First thing for ordinary people to do is to end their silence. Consider all children as your own children. Talk to your local MP or MLA.

Use social media. Start protesting at places where children have been employed.

Awareness will bring change across the world as is evident in the change we have already seen. The United Nations statistics show that the number of child workers have gone down from 26 crore to 18 crore in the last 15 years. The number of children out of school has gone from 13 crore to six crore.

IANS: Europe is facing a migrant crisis that has put in relief the plight of children. How does your work touch that issue?

Satyarthi: My wife and I have recently been to a migrant camp in Germany, where I learnt a lot from the children and got an insight into their plight. I saw dreams in their lives even though their families lost everything they had. I also spent a day in a migrant camp in Turkey.

The flood of migration means children are being deprived of food, security and education. Many of them are being enslaved, some are being pushed into crime, some just disappear. In conflict-ridden Syria alone, 20 children disappeared.

I raised the issue with many heads of state and ministers and urged them to open their borders to the children in distress. I also raised the issue at the UN Humanitarian Summit in Turkey. A campaign called ‘Education Cannot Wait’ was also started during that summit to help distressed children get education.

 

(IANS By Pragya Kashyap )

India

Supreme Court grants anticipatory bail to former Punjab DGP Saini in murder case

Bench asks him to surrender his passport, co-operate with probe and not to influence witnesses in the case

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Sumedh Singh Saini

New Delhi, December 3: The Supreme Court on Thursday granted anticipatory bail to former Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini in the 1991 Balwant Singh Multani murder case.

A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, however, asked Saini to surrender his passport, co-operate with the investigation and not to influence witnesses in the case.

If arrested, the former Punjab DGP would be released on bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh with two sureties in the like amount, the top court said.

The Bench had reserved its verdict on November 17 after hearing arguments from senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi for Saini and senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing Punjab Government.

Even during the hearing the Bench had questioned the need for custody of the accused after 30 years of the crime observed that it was prima facie inclined to grant anticipatory bail.

Multani — a junior engineer with Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Corporation — was allegedly picked up by the police in December 1991 after a terror attack on Saini that left three policemen killed. Saini was injured in the attack.

Saini’s troubles started in May when he was booked at a police station in Mohali along with six others for the alleged kidnapping of Multani in 1991. Murder charge was added in August after two of the accused policemen spill the beans.

The Punjab government had opposed Saini’s plea. Granting anticipatory bail to the accused at this stage would hamper the probe, Luthra had argued.

The Supreme Court had on September 15 granted interim protection from arrest to Saini and posted his plea for anticipatory bail for hearing after four weeks.

Earlier, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had on September 7 dismissed his anticipatory bail plea.

“This case is of 1991. After 30 years what is the hurry to arrest him… We will grant you time to file a reply,” the Bench had said, adding he will not be arrested till further orders.

However, the top court had asked Saini to co-operate with the Punjab Police in the investigation of the case.

Rohatgi had earlier contended that Punjab government was after Saini because he had filed two charge sheets in which current Chief Minister Capt Amarinder was an accused. “This is why they are after me,” he had submitted.

In a separate petition, Saini has also challenged a Punjab and Haryana High Court order dismissing his plea for quashing of the FIR in the case.

He is also facing trial in a Special CBI Court in Delhi along with three others for alleged abduction and disappearance of automobile businessman Vinod Kumar, his brother-in-law Ashok Kumar and their driver Mukhtiyar Singh in 1994.

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Business

RBI asks HDFC Bank to temporarily stop issuing new credit cards

Furthermore, the filing said that these measures shall be considered for lifting upon satisfactory compliance with the major critical observations as identified by the RBI.

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HDFC Bank

The Reserve Bank has asked HDFC Bank to temporarily stop all launches of the ‘Digital Business generating activities and sourcing of new credit card customers.

The RBI’s order dated December 2 comes after outages in the bank’s online facilities or payment utilities occurred over the past 2 years, including the recent incident in the internet banking and payment system on November 21, 2020 due to a power failure in the primary data centre.

In a regulatory filing, HDFC Bank on Thursday said: “The RBI vide said ‘Order’ has advised the Bank to temporarily stop i) all launches of the Digital Business generating activities planned under its program – Digital 2.0 (to be launched) and other proposed business generating IT applications and (ii) sourcing of new credit card customers. In addition, the Order states that the Bank’s Board examines the lapses and fixes accountability.”

Furthermore, the filing said that these measures shall be considered for lifting upon satisfactory compliance with the major critical observations as identified by the RBI.

“The Bank over the last two years has taken several measures to fortify its IT systems and will continue to work swiftly to close out the balance and would continue to engage with the Regulator in this regard.

“The Bank has always endeavoured to provide seamless digital banking services to its customers. The Bank has been taking conscious, concrete steps to remedy the recent outages on its digital banking channels and assures its customers that it expects the current supervisory actions will have no impact on its existing credit cards, digital banking channels and existing operations.”

In addition, the bank said these measures will not materially impact its overall business.

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India

Board exams 2021: CISCE writes to all CMs to allow partial reopening of schools from January for classes 10 and 12

The Chief Executive and Secretary Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) has written to all chief ministers to allow schools to reopen partially from January onwards, especially for students of classes 10 and 12 who will be appearing for board exams.

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students in examination hall

The Chief Executive and Secretary Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) has written to all chief ministers to allow schools to reopen partially from January onwards, especially for students of classes 10 and 12 who will be appearing for board exams.

The council has also written to the Chief Election Commissioner of India to share the poll schedule of the states where elections are due in April and May so the datesheet for board exams can be finalised accordingly.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all schools have been closed from March 2020 till date. However, despite the closure, most of our schools have continued with the teaching and learning process in an online, offline or blended manner, as indicated by a survey conducted by CISCE on the status of online teaching, assessment and completion of syllabus,” said Gerry Arathoon, Chief Executive of CISCE.

“For the final run-up to the examinations, CISCE has requested the chief ministers of all state governments and UTs to allow schools to reopen partially, specifically for the students of classes 10 and 12 from January, 2021,” he said.

“With the students physically attending school, this time will be utilised for practical work, project work, SUPW work and for doubt clearing lessons. This will be extremely beneficial to the students who will now get the time to interact directly with their teachers,” he added.

Arathoon asserted that if allowed to reopen, the schools will be informed to follow the directives of the state government regarding COVID-19 and to conform to the safety guidelines and the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of the health department to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“CISCE has also requested the Chief Election Commissioner of India to share the election dates of the states that are due to have their elections in the months of April – May next year,” he said.

“This will enable CISCE to finalise the schedules for ICSE (Class 10) and ISC (Class 12) year 2021 examinations and to ensure that there are no clash of dates, interruption of the examinations or any inconvenience that may be faced by the candidates taking these examinations,” he added.

Schools across the country were closed in March to contain the spread of COVID-19 and partially reopened in some states from October 15. However, a few states decided to keep them closed in view of a spike in infections.

The board had to cancel its pending exams in March view of the spike in COVID-19 cases and the result was declared on the basis of an alternative assessment scheme.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) too is yet to take a decision on the schedule for conducting board exams next year. However, the board has ruled out conducting online exams and has clarified that the board exams will be in pen and paper mode only.

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