Jaipur: Children in Rajasthan have been found working in hazardous industries like mining, brick kilns, stone cutting and others even in the time of the pandemic. A study report released today by 'Save The Children' says that Rajasthan accounts for nearly 10% of the total child labour in the country within the age group of 5-14 and most of the children are engaged in mining, carpet weaving, brick industry, garment factories and agriculture etc.
The study ‘Status of child labour and legal entitlements of workers in major sectors in Rajasthan’ was conducted from January to April this year in 6 districts of Rajasthan. The study revealed that child labour in the state is sourced generally from poor tribal families and more prevalent in the districts of Jaipur, Dausa, Baran, Hanumangarh, Dholpur, and Bikaner. Children are also brought from states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha and to work in brick kilns in the state from November to May. Besides, children are found to be working in large numbers assisting work in private households, hotels and dhabas.
"The study was conceived to understand child labour practices from different lenses and aims to give a critical analysis of various forms of child labour practices in top 3-4 major sectors in Rajasthan with focus on mining and stone industry and we found children working in these industries despite low production because of the pandemic," said Ramakant Sathpathy, manager child protection, Save the Children.
Deputy director of the organization Sanjay Sharma said, "Government should make all efforts to link these children to existing schemes for child labour eradication as well as educational schemes, age verification documents should be mandated and a mechanism should be developed for online verification of workers.
Findings of the study:
- Stone quarries/ cutting units having the engagement of children in the age group of 8-17 years and are largely engaged in polishing (38%), sawing (32%), sanding (24%) and lapping works (23%). Mostly earning Rs 80-300 per day.
- In brick kilns children are mostly engaged in preparing wet mud (41%), making bricks (48%) and drying (47%).
- Jaipur workshops of gems cutting and bangle making engage children from the age group of 10-17 years. In gems cutting, children are primarily in rubbing (80%) and polishing (33%) and in bangle making children engaged in decorating (98%) and making paste (22%). Mostly earning Rs 50-60 per day.
- Agriculture workers belonging to Shahriya tribes are engaged by landlords and work as family units for two crop season. Children are engaged in manual operations like harvesting (65%), irrigation (65%), hand weeding (55%), fertilizer (27%) and pesticide (28%) applications.
- More than one-third children (34%) are from Jaipur district which is a major hub for local handicrafts decorative items and bangles