"The total number of working children in the country has declined from 1.26 crore as per Census 2001 to 43.53 lakh as per Census 2011," Labour and Employment Minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
Tomar said considering the magnitude and nature of the problem of child labour, the government is following a multi-pronged strategy to deal with it.
The Union Minister said the strategy comprises statutory and legislative measures, rescue and rehabilitation, providing universal and primary education along with social protection, poverty alleviation and employment generation.
"The objective is to create an environment where families are not compelled to send their children to work," Tomar said.
He said to make provisions of child labour law more stringent, the government is amending the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986.
"The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2012 has already been placed in Parliament," he said.
The bill inter-alia covers complete prohibition on employment of children below 14 years and linking the age of the prohibition with the age under the Right to Free and Compulsory Education
Act 2009, prohibition of adolescents (14-18 years) in mines, inflammable substances or explosives and hazardous processes as defined in Factories Act 1948, among others.