The issue of child labour in India amid and post lockdown

SunainaDevi, a landless farmer, from Prithvipur in Kushinagar, Uttarpradeshlives with her husband and three children. She belongs to a Dalit Mushar family. Agriculture and livestock rearing are the main source of income in her village. Due to limited resources, she is forced to work in the fields of big farmers and her husband works as a construction labourer. Sunaina Devi says that her children are studying in government schools. Since schools are closed now, her children like many othersin the village are also spending time together in their homes. The sudden COVID 19 lockdown triggered a food and livelihood crisis among daily wage earners and marginal farmers. It pushed many families to workinthe agricultural fields of big farmers. Her children also started  doing agricultural work like plucking vegetables and water melons from the field and loading and unloading them. Sunaina Devi felt that if the situation remains the same, they will not be able to send their children to the school even when they reopen. In the meantime, in the absence of employment many families have taken loans from the big farmers and moneylenders. The burden of debt will force children into agricultural child labour to assist their families. In Kushinagar, total 10247 Mushar families are living in 10 blocks of the district. Out of which children from 3000-4000 families will probably dropout and become agricultural child labourwith their families. Children from 700 Mushar families in 10 villages of SKVS project may continuewith these child labour activitieseven after the lockdown.