Sristi and ILO have taken series of joint initiatives to find alternative solutions for eliminating child labour. Bringing technology interventions for cracking this persistent challenge has been first of its kind by now. teams and other stakeholders have arranged different methodologies including a summer school program involving technical students for designing innovative solutions for eliminating child labour or increasing the productivity of adult labour.

While ILO has supported this initiative at every stage the young technology students have done phenomenal efforts. Right from the mapping of the issue on ground till developing multiple heuristics of particular innovation catering the needs, the young technology students have shown a new pedagogy to  every of us including ILO for developing alternative interventions for eliminating the challenge.

Recently in a national forum the team from Techpedia and Sristi had presented this insight to national  policymakers, activists, bureaucrats which were well appreciated.  Mr. Hiranmay Mahanta , MD, and Dr. Nirmal Sahay  , Chief Coordinator ,Sadbhav SRISTI Sanshodhan Laboratory shared the progress and insights from the efforts taken to the policy makers including Union Minister of State (Labour and Employment), Govt of India. Shri Kodikunnil Suresh, Minister of State (Labour and Employment)  and ILO officials appreciated this new approach and promised for taking it ahead in best possible ways after going through it in detail.  Learn more (Techpedia, Oct 8, 2013) 


Today SRISTI explores in a workshop with experts technological ideas and innovations  for the elimination of child labour. In this initiative that is carried out in cooperation with ILO, we are trying three alternative approaches:

a.       Eliminate the demand of child labour by substituting the task in which children are engaged by mechanical or other technological processes. It is understood that eliminating one task does not mean children will not be forced to work in other more vulnerable tasks. Technological change will have to be accompanied by institutional changes so that children have better choices.

b.      Eliminate the supply of child labour by increasing the productivity and thus income of the parents who send their children for work. It is hoped that the children would be sent to school once the incomes increase. However, much depends upon the historical debts and the extent of deferred consumption which may take a toll on the newly realised income of parents.  In general when demand for highly skilled labour increases, the parents tend to invest more in their children education hoping that the children will reap the advantage of such a trend in the economy.

c.       Reduce the hazards in the tasks in which labour is employed so that in the event of any adverse contingency, the children of the affected adult labour do not have to be withdrawn from school for labour. Hazardous industries affect the health of adults as well as children. The involvement of labour without adequate safety standards is illegal and thus must not be allowed. But reducing hazards in tasks which are legal, such as line men working on electrical poles, does reduce the probability of adverse contingencies that might cost children their childhood.

We are aware that technology alone will not solve this problem of child labour but in this workshop we are looking at only technological alternatives. In a later stage, the synergy with other socio-economic measures will be explored as well.

Everybody who would like to conribute to the discussion and help the country get over this deep malaise is welcome to do so.
In today’s workshop we will be sharing technological innovations mobilised through and also from NIF’s database so that ILO and other organisations may take the agenda forward in future. Learn more