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Child labour FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions About Child Labour

Question No. 1: How many children in the age group of 5-14 are working in India? How many in the Hazardous occupation/processes?

According to the Census 2001 figures there are 1.26crore working children in the age group of 5-14 as compared to the total child population of 25.2crore. There are approximately 12lakhs children working in the hazardous occupations/processes which are covered under the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act i.e. 18 occupations and 65 processes. However, as per survey conducted by National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in 2004-05, the number of working children is estimated at 90.75lakh.  The number of working children has further gone down in NSSO survey 2009-10 to 49.84lakh.It shows that the efforts of the Government have borne the desired fruits.

Data on children working in hazardous occupations/processes as per Census 2001
S.NO Name of Occupation & Processes No. of Children employed
1. Pan, Bidi & Cigarettes 252574
2. Construction 208833
3. Domestic Workers 185505
4. Spinning/weaving 128984
5. Brick-klins, tiles 84972
6. Dhabas/Restaurants/Hotels/Motels 70934
7. Auto-workshop, vehicle repairs 49893
8. Gem-cutting, Jewellery 37489
9. Carpet-making 32647
10. Ceramic 18894
11. Agarbatti, Dhoop & Detergent making 13583
12. Others*  135162
TOTAL 1219470

Foundries, slaughter houses, plastic units, transport of passengers, goods or mails by railways, Cinder picking, soap manufacturing, tanning, lock making, paper making, tyre making and repairing, manufacture of dyes and dyestuff, cashew and cashew nut descaling and processing.etc. 

Question No. 2: What is the trend of working children in India as per the last three Census Report & two NSSO Reports?

Trend of economically active Children in India (5-14 years)
Year Number of working children Total child population
1981 (Census) 1.30 crore
1991 (Census) 1.13 crore 20.92 crore
2001 (Census)
2009-10 (NSSO) 90.75 lakh
2009-10 (NSSO) 49.84 lakh

*The number of working children has increased from 1.13 crore in Census 1991 to 1.26 crore in Census 2001. This is because the total child population of age group 5-14 years increased from 20.92 crore in 1991 to 25.20 crore in 2001. However, the activity rate has gone down from 5.4% in 1991 to 5% in 2001

Question No. 3:  What is the policy of the Government on the issue of Child Labour?
The National Policy on Child Labour declared in August, 1987, contains the action plan for tackling the problem of child labour. It envisages:

  • A legislative action plan: The Government has enacted the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 to prohibit the engagement of children in certain employments and to regulate the conditions of work of children in certain other employments.  
  • Focusing and convergence of general development programmes for   benefiting children wherever possible, A Core Group on convergence of various welfare schemes of the Government has been constituted in the Ministry of Labour & Employment to ensure that, the families of the child labour are given priority for their upliftment. 
  • Project-based action plan of action for launching of projects for the welfare of working children in areas of high concentration of child labour.

In pursuance of National Child Labour Policy, the NCLP Scheme was started in 1988 to rehabilitate child labour.  The Scheme seeks to adopt a sequential approach with focus on rehabilitation of children working in hazardous occupations & processes in the first instance.  Under the Scheme, after a survey of child labour engaged in hazardous occupations & processes has been conducted, children are to be withdrawn from these occupations & processes and then put into special schools in order to enable them to be mainstreamed into formal schooling system.

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