The year 2016 could see Karnataka as a child labour-free State, according to Minister for Labour B.N. Bache Gowda.

In a reply to N.L. Narendrababu of the Congress in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday, Mr. Gowda said Deputy Commissioners had been asked to conduct a fresh survey of child labourers in the State.

Based on the survey, an action plan would be prepared to make the State free from child labourers by 2016, he said.

The S.M. Krishna Government had set a deadline for 2007 for the child labour-free State and later it was extended to 2012. Now, the Centre has again extended the deadline to 2016, he said.

The exact number of child labourers was not available in the State since survey was not done since 2001. As soon as child labour was detected, criminal prosecution was being filed before appropriate magistrate court for violation of the provisions of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986/Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961.

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