Child labour robs country of 1.2 lakh cr annually: Report
Indrani BasuIndrani Basu, TNN | Jun 13, 2011, 03.28am IST
NEW DELHI: Around Rs 1,20,000 crore is pocketed as profit by employers of child labour annually in India, an amount that is rarely reported as income to the government in order to evade taxes.
This is the startling claim of a preliminary report of a child rights NGO.
According to the NGO's estimates, there are six crore child labourers in the country currently. "This is including the number of children who have dropped out of school or never returned, unlike government estimates which only take into account the number of children who have never gone to school," explained Bhuwan Ribhu, lawyer for the NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan.
As per government estimates, Rs 15 is spent on a child labourer per day while as per the national floor wage, an adult labourer must be paid Rs 115 per day. Assuming these child labourers work for approximately 200 days a year, the total amount comes to Rs 18,000 crores annually.
"That is a difference of Rs 100 per labourer. With the average number of working days in a year being about 200, the employers profit by Rs 1,20,000 by employing child labour, " explained Ribhu.
This sum, which should have been paid by the employers to the workers, is instead pocketed since the employers employ underpaid and overworked child labourers, claim activists.
According to the report, the employer also does not report this income to the government, evading taxes and leading this Rs 1,20,000 crore to become slush funds. "This Rs 1,20,000 crore did not come in the market for circulation. This money did not reach the government or the public, but is present in some form or the other in the market as illicit money," reads the report.
In an RTI reply, it was found that since 2005, the Delhi government has received over Rs 5 crore funds but spent only Rs 2.4 crores. The government has released only Rs 71 lakh for rehabilitation and education of child labour victims since 2005 despite over 4000 children being rescued in Delhi since then. The government is supposed to release Rs 5,000 per child as per the law.
According to ILO's "Accelerating Action Against Child Labour" Report (2010), there are 215 million children employed as child labourers worldwide of which 115 million are working in hazardous occupations. The condition is worse in the developing countries of Asia and Latin America.
According to the 2001 Census, 12.7 million children are working in various sectors across India, the largest number of child labourers in any country.
According to the National Commission for Enterprises in Unorganized Sector (2007), the potential child labour pool in the country remains high at 45.2 million children. NGOs estimate the number of child labourers cumulate to 60 million, which is 6% of the total population of India. However, the NFHS-3 report (2005-06) claims 15% of children in India remain in employment.
The huge amount of illicit money present in the country also includes the money which is earned by the employer (or chain of employers, traffickers and labour recruiters) by employing child labour. Meanwhile, all work that is done by child labourers and income goes unaccounted in a country's economy.
"The child labourer has displaced the adult worker, leading to adult unemployment and creating a huge pool of black money in the country. The children perform unskilled activities that can be done by adults. This affects the labour market dynamics and adult unemployment negatively," said Kailash Satyarthi,
president of Global Child Education.
This sucks. What can be done?