A worrying trend has surfaced from the figures released by Government of India on child labour. The state witnessed a steep increase of 56% in working children over the last decade as the Census 2011 data suggests. Over 45% of the working children in the state are girls, and the capital city of Bangalore leads the total number of working girls in Karnataka. The state of Karnataka has nearly half a million working children between the ages of 5-14 years which is the school-going age for elementary education.
With around 29,069 number of girl children, Bangalore leads the trend followed by the districts of Raichur and Bellary. From the data available it is seen that 80% of child labour in India is concentrated in rural regions, however Karnataka has shown a growth indicating that urban centers supporting child labour to a greater extent.
Lack of education, poverty and a hope of better livelihood are creating a vacuum through which children are moving increasingly to urban centers.
The top 5 districts for working girls between 5-14 years in Karnataka are given below. Together these 5 districts account for 45% of the working girls in the state.
|States||No: of working girls|
Gender specific child labour roles finds that the girl child mostly working in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sectors amounting to almost 62.8 percent. The next highest sectors with the largest number of working girls is Arts, Entertainment and recreation, Activities of Households as Employers, Undifferentiated Goods and Services and related sector taking another chunk of more than a quarter (27.9 percent) of working girls.
“This is a worrying trend because child labour according to the current trend is being supported by the urban sector. We at CRY have a zero tolerance policy for child labour and are working to raising awareness and facilitating the preventive mechanisms to bring about a sustained change and impact,” said Suma Ravi- Regional Director, Child Rights and You (CRY)
In Karnataka, CRY is working intensively on a targeted 99 villages or slum. CRY has been successful in reaching out to 12,832 children between 0-18 years out of which 6312 of them have been girl children in the last one year.
Their experience of working on the issue for a long time shows that under the purview of labour all children might not be covered due to exemptions in law, lack of societal willingness to come and discuss about this issue and unavailability of a child due to their long engagements with work and study making the data an indication than an actual representation of the problem.
10.13 million of child labourers are between 5-14 years in India (2011 Census data). Child labour in 2011 has decreased by around 20% from 2001 Census Figures. When compared with the 2001 figure percentage of girls and boys decreased by 23% and 17% respectively in 2011. Children between 10-14 years compose 75% of the entire working children in India.
Karnataka is the state with 9th highest no of working children, accounting to almost 4.2% of all working children in India.
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The CSR Journal Team