11% of child workers are from Bihar, say experts

A workshop on ‘Behaviour change and strategy for elimination of child labour inBihar’ was organized here by labour resources department and UNICEF on Saturday.
“The state has made great strides to combat child labour problem. However, the issue is deeply rooted and has to be dealt with strict laws and awareness. There are many people who send their children to work as labourers. They must be made aware against it. The experience shared at the workshop by different stakeholders will go a long way in controlling child labour in the state,” said state labour resources minister Vijay Prakash, who inaugurated the workshop.

The Unicef experts claimed that one among every 11 children below 14 is working as a child labourer in the country. As per 2011 census, 6.5 million children in 5-14 age group work in unorganized sector. Out of them, 11% of the child workers are from Bihar which is at second position in terms of child labourers.

Unicef chief in Bihar, Yameen Mazumder said, “Child labour thrives on various structural factors such as adverse social norms, unregulated informal sectors, lack of quality education and poor implementation of law. In order to address child labour problem in a comprehensive manner, there is a need to engage with primary stakeholders (children and parents).”

He said the experience shared by institutions of local governance, frontline workers, administrative and non-governmental organization will help plug in the deficiencies and design a better framework to control child labour in Bihar.

Unicef has also devised a three-step workshop to create awareness among the stakeholders. These are state-level inception workshop, workshops with children and community members and finally a culmination workshop to bring together key insights gathered from various workshops for identifying a behaviour change strategy for elimination and prevention of child labour.

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