India had 1.5 million child workers in 2005: government

Thursday, 29 May 2008, 07:00 Hrs
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New Delhi: There were 1.5 million child workers engaged in India's 41.83 million organised and unorganised sector units in 2005, says an official census released here Thursday.

"Out of 54.4 million hired workers in 41.83 million establishments, 1.5 million were children, while 41.3 million were male workers and 11.6 million were female workers," said the Economic Census-2005.

The Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) of the ministry of statistics and programme implementation Thursday released the census, the fifth since the exercise began in 1977.

The census said that child workers account for 1.89 million or 2.10 percent of the total employment of about 90 million in non-farm sector in 2005.

"The proportion of child workers (in non-agricultural establishments) was more in rural areas, 54.34 percent, than in urban areas, 45.66 percent," said the census.

It said that 100.9 million people were employed in 41.83 million establishments in 2005, out of which 25.54 million units were in rural and 16.29 million in urban areas.

According to the 1981 census, India had 13.6 million child labourers. The 2001 census found 12.5 million child workers in the age group of 5-14 years out of the country's 252 million child population.

"The presence of 1.5 million child labour in the hired category is a matter of concern, and sheer poverty is to be blamed for this," said an official requesting anonymity.

Articles 24, 39 and 45 of the Indian Constitution have provisions to secure labour protection and free and compulsory education for children up to the age of 14 years.

In order to check child labour, the government has launched the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) scheme in 250 districts, under which children are withdrawn from hazardous occupations and are placed in special schools.

Apart from the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, the government in 1987 adopted a National Policy on Child Labour with a focus on rehabilitation of children working in hazardous occupations and processes.
Source: IANS
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