Fewer children employed as child labourers in Mumbai: Survey

Mumbai city news: Close to 700 children were found working in 3, 16,693 shops surveyed in Mumbai.

mumbai Updated: Jun 12, 2017 00:55 IST
Puja Pednekar
Puja Pednekar
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,child labourer,Kailash Satyarthi
(Picture for representation/HT File)

Three years after Kailash Satyarthi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in eradication of child labour, it is a still prevalent across India, but on a smaller scale in Mumbai, revealed a new study on the occasion of National Child Labour Day today ( Monday).

From 610,208 shops covered nationally in states such Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana 2,648 child labourers were found to be in the age-group of 14 years and below.

In contrast, the situation was different in Mumbai. Close to 700 children were found working in 3, 16,693 shops surveyed. This included large commercial establishments, tea stalls and unregistered businesses. More than half of whom (497) were above the age of 15 years-above the legal limit, under the recent Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment (CLPRA) Act, 2016. More places were surveyed in Mumbai as the focus was on the city.

“This has been a huge achievement for the city, as many people and employers are now aware of the legal implications of employing children and are also having a zero tolerance to child labour,” said Sneha Shirgaonkar, assistant director, Pratham Council For Vulnerable Children (PCVC), which conducted the study.

Besides traditional industries such as embroidery (zari work), leather (making bags and shoes), gold polishing, it was found that majority of the children are now working in hotels and eateries, followed by grocery stores and poultry shops. These children are either locals or may be from other states who work part-time or full-time with little or no wages, found the survey.

Children below 14 years are allowed to work for stipulated duration in their family-owned business (run and owned by child’s parents or their immediate siblings), while not compromising on their education.

In Mumbai, only 239 children (32% of the total) were found be below this limit, but it was higher in the city’s suburbs. In Navi Mumbai, 41% child labourers were below 14 years, while 59% were above 15. The ratio was almost equal in Thane with 52% above 15 and 49% under 14, Mira Bhayandar and Vasai Virar.

The study said that instances of child labour have reduced in Mumbai since regular and strict action is taken by the department and police. Compared to this, in northern states, where action is not taken on a regular basis, more number of children are found to be working.

Experts have recommended making the process of not employing children for work further more stringent by asking shopkeepers to sign an undertaking during the registration of their shops so that they do not engage children for work and also adhere to the rules laid down in the CLPRA Act.

First Published: Jun 12, 2017 00:55 IST