Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) president M K Pandhe today said India has the largest number of child labourers in the world with about "50 million children having no other choice but to work whatever is available to them at a paltry wage".
Speaking at a workshop on "Media and Child Labour" here, Pandhe said, "India has the largest number of child labourers and CITU believes that as long as there is poverty in the country, child labour can not be abolished...
"Unfortunately in our country, the definition of poverty line takes into account only the nutritional standard or daily consumption level. It does not provide for a living standard that would ensure that children go to school regularly.
"The workshop, organised in association with the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) with an objective to focus the attention of media on the issue of child labour, was part of the ongoing joint campaign of CITU and International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Pandhe said over 20 years ago, India passed a law to prohibit child labour in hazardous industries but practical experience shows that child labour in hazardous industries has "increased after adoption of the law".
"Urge to survive is much more powerful than the threat of dangerous working conditions," he pointed out and said "adequate media coverage on the issue will contribute a great deal in creating public pressure on both Central and state governments to take concrete measures to tackle it in the right earnest.
" ILO representative in India Leyla Tegmo Reddy said, "The problem of child labour can not be solved in isolation. We need to adopt a comprehensive vision. Child labour has to be tackled in the context of national development frameworks, poverty reduction strategies, provision of education and decent employment for parents."