Welfare Minister P Rajavelu on Tuesday claimed that there were no child labourers in the Union Territory.
Speaking at the World Anti-Child Labourer Day function, organised by the department of labour on its premises, he said that no child (below 14 years) was found engaged in any industry.
As per a 2011 statistics, 815 million child labourers existed world over of which 105 million were engaged in hazardous industries. In Puducherry it was a meager number of child labourers as per the statistics from the period 1997 to 2000.
“The labour department had initiated stern action to eradicate this menace and now we can firmly claim that there are no child labourers in the Union Territory,” he said.
The labour department had constituted four committees comprising four officers of the department to monitor the industries and find out if child labourers were being engaged.
He said those who did not have any facilities to study as well as those in the BPL sector were sending their wards to work.
But now the government was running pre-KG and LKG classes to provide primary education to the poor. Besides, the food and educational requirements were taken care of by the government in the school itself.
He said shop owners and industrialists should be pressed to participate in such functions and be made aware that there was a punishment for engaging child labourers. This comprised a fine of `20,000 and two to three years of imprisonment.
He said the CM had already announced that the government would directly remit the tuition fees of the students selected for professional courses here through the centralised admission committee of the government to the respective colleges.
A circular would be sent to the colleges directing them not to insist that the students remit fees at the time of admission, he added.
Earlier flagging off a children’s rally and a propaganda on the occasion of celebration of ‘World Day against Child Labour’ here, he said the International Labour Organisation had launched the day in 2002 so that young children could be protected against the menace of child labour.