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    Alleged use of child labour: India peeved with US tactics of blacklisting

    Synopsis

    Though the US department of labour's annual exercise of identifying countries and sectors using child labour does not lead to action against blacklisted countries, it harms the image of a country and influences buyer decisions.

    ET Bureau

    NEW DELHI: India will strongly take up the issue of the United States continuing to blacklist its select industry for alleged child labour use despite the government and the industry taking steps to address the issue.

    Though the US department of labour's annual exercise of identifying countries and sectors using child labour does not lead to action against blacklisted countries, it harms the image of a country and influences buyer decisions.

    "We will discuss the issue with the commerce department and the ministry of external affairs for taking it up with the US government. Over the past few years we have actively taken up programmes to curb child labour in child labour sensitive sectors which does not get reflected in the report," a labour department official told ET. The US has blacklisted India for the fourth year running for alleged use of child labour in several sectors.

    The labour department report has identified as many as 21 products from the country that includes garments, zari, beedi, carpets, brassware, agarbatti and fireworks for use of child or forced labour. Yarn & fabric has been added to the list this year.

    Earlier this year, the Union Cabinet approved the Child & Adolescent Labour (Prohibition) Act banning employment of children below 14 years across sectors and below 18 years for hazardous sectors.

    The labour ministry has initiated a National Child Labour Project for gradual elimination of child labour in all sectors through rehabilitation of child labour, ensuring enforcement of child labour laws, income and employment generation activities for families and survey and evaluation. The Indian industry is disappointed with the latest US report.



    The Apparel Export Promotion Council, a body to promote garment exports, stressed that the US should have dropped garments from the list.

    "The AEPC already submitted documentation required for positive consideration of the US department of labour in February this year. We have shown government enforcement data recording sharp reduction in violations and documented work done by NGOs and brands to increase transparency in the supply chain," pointed out AEPC chairman A Sakthivel.

    Although according to government data compiled by the National Sample Survey Organisation child labour in the country has come down to Rs 49.6 lakh from Rs 1.25 crore in 2000-01, it is still rampant in sectors identified in the US labour department report in areas such as Mirzapur, Bhadoi, Aligarh, Firozabadh, Sivakasi, Tirupur, Virudunagar, Delhi National Capital Region (NCR), Jalandhar and Ludhiana.

    "It is true that there is child labour in the country, but one must appreciate the declining numbers and the efforts undertaken to curb it. Once the legislation making child labour a punishable offence gets implemented, the incidence would come down further," the official said.

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    3 Comments on this Story

    observer2970 days ago
    The punishment is a joke. 3 months of prison with max 20000. The rewards are more than the risk.
    Its a total eye wash.
    The article says legislation to make child labour punishable office is yet to be implemented.
    So what are we waiting and isn't a ban justified till then.
    s.venkat2970 days ago
    why cannot we employ child labour in Parliment as PM/MP's who will do a better job instead of their rigorous employment. MAN MOHAN SINGH-IF YOU ARE A MAN OF CHARACTER PLEASE ACT ON IT. DO NOT JUST ACT.
    Vishnu Bhan2970 days ago
    I think that it is shameful that India is peeved that the US wont accept our exports, but is not peeved about the fact that there actually is child labor in these industries.
    Creating laws cannot get us repreives.
    I know that probably the same issues are also prevalent in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh etc, however if India tries to internalise the problem and solve it, it will be more beneficial for the country's future and also beneficial to exporters (ofcourse their cost of production would go up if they cannot exploit child labour)
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