New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Over 75 percent of 11,652 child rehabilitation centres across 21 states of India are non-functional, the labour minister informed parliament on Monday.
“As per information received from various National Child Labour Project (NCPL), at present there are 2,876 special training centres functional,” Minister Bandaru Dattatreya told the Lok Sabha.
The minister also stated that the government had issued a communication to all the concerned labour departments of state governments to assess the number of the child labourers.
“The major objective of NCPL is to withdraw children from work and mainstream them into formal education system. The ministry has issued communication to all the concerned departments of the state governments to assess the number of child labourers in all NCPL districts through survey.”
India had 4.5 million child labourers aged below 14 years in 2011. However, the International Labour Organization in February 2015 reported 5.7 million child laborers aged between five and 17 years in India, and 168 million globally.
As per the report, the rehabilitation or special training centres in Gujarat, Odisha and Uttarakhand are all non-functional.
Gujarat has 118, Odisha has 1,030 and Uttarakhand has 10 such centres that are non-functional.
At 2,061, Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of such centres of which only 113 centres function, and over 94 percent are defunct.
Bihar has a total 1,723 sanctioned centres, of which over 85 percent are defunct, while in Rajasthan 96 percent of total 1,179 sanctioned centres are defunct.
Out of 21 states, Nagaland is the only one to have all its 44 child rehabilitation centres functioning, followed by Punjab that has only six defunct centres of its total 107.
Delhi has no child rehabilitation centre sanctioned.
As per the International Labour Organization, half of the Indian child labourers work in the agriculture sector, about 25 percent work in the manufacturing sector, including brick kilns and mines. Many work in the services sector.
In March 2016, during the Lok Sabha proceeding, Minister Bandaru Dattatreya informed the house that the number of child labourers aged below 14 had dropped to 4.5 million in 2011 as compared to 12.6 million a decade ago.
The government is also working to amend the current law, which for now bans children below 14 years of age from working in 18 hazardous occupations and 65 processes, including mining and cement manufacturing.
The amendments also propose to increase the fine from Rs.20,000 to Rs.50,000 and to double the jail term for employing a child labour.