Unable to determine the number of child labourers in Delhi and the areas they work in, the Delhi Government on Tuesday decided to rope in the NGO’s for a fact finding report on the child labourers of the city.
"We have decided to take the help of the NGO’s to find out how many such labourers are in the city and where they work," said Labour and Industry Minister MR Singhal. The minister said that the department would take action against anyone who is found to be employing a child below the age of 14.
Asked about the preparedness of the Labour Department to tackle the scourge of child labourers, the minister said that the labour officers of all the districts would receive complaint and take action.
Tuesday was the first day when child labour was banned officially and they can neither work as domestic helps or in the hotels and dhabas. The government, however, did not take action against anyone in the first day of the new law.
The labour officials estimate that there could be around 60 thousand such labourers in the city. "The last census in 2001 reported 47,000 child labourers. In the last five years, the figure could have touched 60,000," the minister admitted.
The NGO’s involved in eradication of child labour, however, pointed out that a further notification is required to ban child labour in the specified trade. Social Jurist, a NGO, said that the July 10 notification of the Ministry of Labour and Employment banning child labour as domestic helps, their employment in dhabas, restaurant, eateries, tea shops, recreational centres etc, was only a notice of three months on the intention of the government to ban it. "It has to be followed by a further notification," said Ashok Aggarwal of the Social Jurist.
Aggarwal said that earlier when trades like electroplating, graphite powdering, grinding or glazing of metals, diamond cutting and polishing, rag picking and scavenging were added to Part B of the Schedule to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, a second notification was made.
"The first notification of their intention was issued on July 28, 2000 whereas the further notification banning child labour in the aforesaid processes was issued on May 10, 2001," Aggarwal pointed out.