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Child Labor Practice Drops in India

Feb 14, 2005 9:42 AM   By Ketan Tanna
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(Rapaport…February 14, 2005) The use of child labor in India’s diamond processing industry has been reduced from .55 percent in 1998 to .31 percent, according to a study by A. F. Ferguson & Co., a management consultancy in India.

The results of the study, Child Labour from Gem and Jewellery Industry, was paramount to a seminar held on February 12, in Surat, India, by the Gem & Jewelry Export Promotion Council (GJEPC,) and the Surat Diamond Association

Bakul Mehta, chairman of the GJEPC told Rapaport News that some 500 diamond factory owners took an oath in the city of Palanpur, Gujarat, (home town of leading Gujarati diamond merchants) not to employ children in their factories. Similarly, in Surat, 200 factory owners took the oath.

Bakul Mehta said that the study conducted by A. F. Fergusson & Co., which had taken the issue of child labor seriously, “was a GJEPC initiative. Nobody asked us or forced us. We at GJEPC remain committed to eradicating child labor from the Indian diamond industry.” He said the gem and jewelry industry cannot even think of employing children, not only for moral reasons, but that a child could be injured while polishing or cutting the diamonds.

According to Mehta, the report was commissioned to spread awareness about child labor among the people connected with the industry. According to the study the presence of child labor in country’s gemstone industry is estimated to be less than 1 percent for the jewelry industry overall, while for the synthetic stone industry it is estimated to be two-thirds less.

The study was conducted at the total of 663 manufacturing units at 21 different locations at Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, and Tamil Nadu.

Tags: India, Jewelry, Manufacturing, Polishing, Surat
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