Study in two districts links caste with child labour

A menace: Child labour can be eliminated if society supports the campaign against it in the State.

A menace: Child labour can be eliminated if society supports the campaign against it in the State.  

Staff Reporter

‘85 per cent of children belonged to oppressed castes’

Bangalore: A distinct connection between caste, livelihood, education status and child labour emerges in a status report on child labour in two districts of Karnataka — Bidar and Chamrajnagar, conducted by the Centre for Decentralisation and Development and the Institute for Social and Economic Change.

The study, “Child Labour in Bidar and Chamrajnagar districts: A status report and ways forward”, 2007 will form the baseline for the three-year Karnataka Child Labour Project started by International Labour Organisation to take steps to combat child labour and exploitation of adolescents in the two districts.

According to the report, approximately 85 per cent of children who had never gone to school in the two districts worked and typically belonged to depressed castes, and their parents, who are daily wage workers.

Of the 40,206 children (aged below 18) covered in the survey of 80 villages and urban wards, nearly 31 per cent worked — either in household activities or for wages, including agricultural labour, livestock rearing, work at restaurants and shops, construction work, stone quarrying, rag picking and brick making.

The report reveals that a significantly large proportion of child labourers was from the age group of 5 to 14. Of the projected number of child labourers in Bidar (68,784), 40,652 children aged between 5 and 14, and 28,132 for the age group 15 and 17 are projected to work.

The figure for child labour in Chamarajanagar is lower at 50,972, and the break up for the age groups of 5 to 14 and 15 to 17 are 26,931 and 24,041, respectively.

Girls outnumbered boys among child labour in both districts — comprising 54 per cent in Chamarajanagar and 55 per cent in Bidar.

Most of the children working belonged to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes and Muslim communities.

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