J&K’s Labour Department has 150 cases of child labour pending by the end of February 2015. This was despite the fact that it has settled 181 cases in last nearly seven years during which conviction took place in 112 cases while as accused in 69 cases were acquitted, official sources said.
Labour department is mandated by J&K Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 to inspect areas of economic activity to see if the children below the age of 14 years are working in any hazardous process or occupation. Apart from a monitoring cell that functions within the Labour Department, the government has already constituted district level advisory boards to eradicate the child labour.
Officials said they are carrying out inspections and the numbers are surging. Against 302 inspections in 2008-09, there were 3949 inspections in 2009-10, 2868 in 2010-11, 4331 in 2011-12, 3423 in 2012-13, 3494 in 2013-14 and 2709 by the end if February 2015.
However, officials said they are facing a real threat from migrant labour that come jn hoards from outside the state, “These are poor and willingly let their children work in Dhabas, at construction places, as house hold servants,” the ministry said. “This is a challenge.”
Year 2009-10 witnessed registration of 62 cases, the highest in last seven years, for use of child labour followed by 30 cases in 2011-12. These two years witnessed the highest convictions, 30 and 25 respectively.