New Delhi: The total number of child labour in the country has reduced by 65 per cent as per the Census 2011, Rajya Sabha was informed today.
The government also said that elimination of child labour was its "priority". On the other hand, it also said as per the last Census of 2011, more than 26,000 children were working in Delhi in the age group of 5-14 years.
Replying to separate questions in Rajya Sabha on Child Labour, Labour and Employment minister Vishnu Deo Sai said around 808 child labourers were rescued from Delhi in 2013 while 709 were rescued in 2012.
"The total number of working children in the country has declined from 1.26 crore as per the Census 2001 to 43.53 lakh as per Census 2011 which shows 65 per cent reduction," Sai said.
"Efforts to eliminate child labour especially in hazardous occupations and processes continues to be a priority of the government," he added.
He said that as per the 2001 Census, the child labourers were mostly working in paan (betel), bidi, construction, domestic work, spinning and weaving sector. However sectoral dis-aggregated data on child labour from 2011 Census was not available.
"As per Census 2011, there were 26,473 working children in the age group of 5-14 years in Delhi," Sai said. He said that the government is implementing the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) scheme since 1988 in areas of high concentration of child labour.
Under the scheme, children in age group of 9-14 years are rescued from hazardous occupations and enrolled in NCLP special training centres which has provisions for bridge education, vocational training, mid-day meal, stipend, health care and others before being mainstreamed into formal educational system.
The minister said that the scheme is approved for 24 districts in Odisha at present.