India's new Prime Minister, Mr Moraji Desai, has committed his government to a massive attack on unemployment.
GVs ZOOM OUT AND PAN children sitting on ground working, Delhi, India.
SV: man putting basket on child's head.
SV: children around tents and roadside stall.
SV: Children digging 23
SVs: children working on building site and repairing scooter. (3 shots)
SV: child ironing garment.
GV: children and men working in street. (2 shots)
GV PAN: children carrying heavy loads on their heads on building site.
SV: children on street.
SV: child digging
SYNOPSIS: JOYCE: "According to official Indian government figures there are 11 million children in the work force. Unofficial estimates put the number of child workers far higher, as many as 40 million. For all these children there are few joys in childhood, just long hours in the fields, the factory floor or the streets. A growing number of children are flocking from the poor northern states to cities like Delhi. With no families friends, or shelter they are often ruthlessly exploited by unscrupulous employers. Even destitute children finish up supporting older beggars. In mines, factories and the sweated labour of cottage industry, children perform arduous and hazardous work even before their 10th birthday. India may have the atom bomb but its child employment scene is a grim throwback to the 18th century, in the dark early days of Britain's industrial revolution.
Children are technically protected from this sort of life by a whole range of legislation dating back to British imperial rule. But although child labour is against the law the working young can be seen working on any Indian street. Although child wages are absurdly low by Australian standards the money is enough to make millions of parents put their children in the work force rather than send them to school. A recent national seminar on the employment of children came to the conclusion that the abolition of child labour was neither feasible nor desirable at the present stage of India's economic development. The national seminar said that such a move would inflict an unbearable suffering on millions of families below the poverty line who had to send their children out to work to eek out a bare subsistence living. But the seminar did recommend the adjustment to receive some part time education."
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Background: India's new Prime Minister, Mr Moraji Desai, has committed his government to a massive attack on unemployment. As many as 50 million Indians are now unemployed or under-employed - but at the same time millions of children work rather than go to school. From Delhi, Tony Joyce reports.