The Cotton Textile Export Promotion Council has stressed the importance of eradicating child labour in any form of employment across the value chain, mainly importing countries preparing a country-specific restriction list of products that use child labour.

The US government recently issued a restricted import of goods and has included Indian cotton seeds, cotton, thread/yarn, besides other commodities based on some published reports.

The United States Department of Labour has advised Indian companies to monitor and ensure that no child or forced labour is employed within their organisation or supply chain.

The textile industry, including Texprocil, Employers Federation of Southern India, Ethical Trade Initiative and The Southern India Mills’ Association, recently organised a Virtual National Seminar on “Eradication of Child Labour” attended by stakeholders across the country from the textile value chain.

Manojkumar Patodia, Chairman, Texprocil, said there is an urgent need for eradicating child labour employment and de-listing cotton seeds, cotton, thread and yarn from the restricted list.

Siddhartha Rajagopal, Executive Director, Texprocil, said the industry has initiated various steps and preparing dossiers by engaging a third party agency study, collecting data from the Department of Labour and NGOs, adopting a code of conduct and strictly adhering to labour laws to eradicate child labour.

Sanjay Kumar, Executive Director cum Secretary, Carpet Export Promotion Council, said it has made registration mandatory for all carpet looms and adopt a specified code of conduct to eradicate child labour apart from introducing various welfare facilities.

Dr K Selvaraju, Secretary-General, Southern India Mills Association, said the labour employment Code recommended by it would facilitate the textile manufacturing unit to protect itself from any criticism from the NGOs and other stakeholders.

SIMA has established a Sustainability Cell that helps textile mills for auditing and certifying an employment code, apart from assisting the mills in compliance, he said.

SIMA has also developed a draft Code on the eradication of child labour for the employer’s compliance, he added.