World Day Against Child Labour was marked across the country today by organising various programmes.
Speaking at a programme organised to mark the day at Basantapur, Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Gokarna Bista said the government would eliminate child labour in the next seven years. “The government is set to launch a 10-year National Master Plan for the Elimination Child Labour with the aim of eliminating child labour by 2025. We have sent a draft of the plan to the Cabinet for approval,” he said.
Minister Bista said child labour in the country was not as severe as claimed by various non-governmental organisations. According to the Department of Labour, there are around 500,000 to 600,000 child labourers in the country. The majority of such children are working in hotels, as domestic helps and daily wage workers.
According to a Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2014 by UNICEF, 37.4 per cent of total children between five and 17 years of age were employed as workers. Similarly, according to labour force survey conducted by Central Bureau of Statistics in 2008, around 1.6 million children were employed and over 600,000 of them were exposed to hazardous working conditions.
Executive Director of Central Child Welfare Board Tarak Dhital said, comparison between 1998 CBS report with the 2008 report shows a drastic decline in the number of child workers. “Child labour can be eliminated as envisioned by the proposed master plan only if the government introduces immediate action plan to address the problem.”
According to Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre, there are more than 4,000 child care centres operating in the country. Around 4,500 to 5,000 NGOs and INGOs are working actively for child welfare and around 15,000 child rights organisations are registered with Social Welfare Council Nepal.
The UN states that 218 million children between five and 17 years are employed worldwide.