India conveys concern on child labour to EU

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New Delhi, Oct 30: Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath today expresssed serious reservations about the findings of reports by some European NGOs of widespread use of child labour in the textile industry and said these could be used for erecting non-tariff barriers.

He charged that the information dished out by these NGOs was "false" and "fabricated" and warned that India too can retaliate in the event of non-tariff barriers were deployed.

The Minister was speaking to newspersons on the sidelines of the 'Fortune Global Forum,' which he addressed earlier.

Mr Nath stated the charges by a Dutch and some other European NGOs were serious in nature and went to the extent of saying that these could have been induced by countries which were taking recourse to protectionism through the back door.

The Minister said he has already expressed disappointment in this regard to the Government of Netherlands and European Union Commissioner for Trade.

"The increasing trend on non-tariff barriers in the form of inducing NGOs to paint India in an incorrect light is of serious concern to us and we will take necessary steps", Mr Nath added.

Last month, a Dutch NGO published a report on India's textile industry, claiming that it was staffed by more than 416,000 children under 18. The plight of many children was akin to bonded labour, working up to 12 hrs in the factories for less than Rs 30 a day.

Similar Reports have also been brought out by other NGOs from the United Kingdom.

Mr Nath said he respected NGOs and interteracted with them when he was a Minister for Environment several years ago, but expressed unhappiness with these recent Reports.

The Dutch NGO Report alleged that big Indian groups as well as multinationals did nothing to stop this "modern form of child slavery''.

Mr Nath said the pictures produced by the NGO were computer stimulated.

On the allegations of child labour being deployed by a local manufacturer to GAP, the American clothing retailer, the Minister said the parent company had vetted the products from this supplier and lauded the manufacturing facilities of the Indian supplier.


UNI

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