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Call for Innovative Technologies and Ideas for the Elimination of Child Labour

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SRISTI in collaboration with ILO announces a competition to find innovative ideas and technologies for the elimination of child labour

There are a number of occupations that are hazardous and in which child labour is strictly prohibited. However, there are still instances where children are employed in such occupations.  Some of the reasons are: For some families and communities, involving children in the work is often the only way they can sustain their livelihood. The implication of this is devastating on the child as it not only deprives the child of their rightful education but also has a harmful and deleterious effect on the health of the children. Such child labourers are at a risk of a wide range of biological, physical, chemical, dust, machinery, ergonomic, hygiene and psychological hazards. This coupled with other problems such as insufficient nutrition ultimately leads to compounding social and psychological stress among the children.

We have to ensure that children working in hazardous and non-hazardous occupations are successfully withdrawn and rehabilitated. However, the child labour needs to be compensated by alternative permissible adult labour to ensure the sustainability of productive enterprises without compromising effective production as well as the affected families’ livelihood.

In this context, it becomes important to explore and consider the role of alternative technologies and innovative ideas which can offer a suitable and feasible replacement for child labour.

Suggested alternative technologies could include new innovative technologies as also existing technologies which could be adopted to replace repetitive manual labour. Such alternative technologies if adopted and operated by adults would make processes more productive leading to increased efficiency and profitability for the enterprise employing child labour and possibly enhanced wages for the adult labour. Thus the likelihood of increased income for the families along with lack of opportunities for child labour would necessitate the families to enable full time schooling for their children. In addition, such alternative technologies could improve the health of the workers and thus directly contribute to greater productivity of labour. Alternative technologies could reduce the drudgery of production operations and reduce the number of man-days required to accomplish a specific task or production process. Promotion of such technologies could therefore play a direct role in minimising child labour in productive processes involving both hazardous and non-hazardous occupations.

Key goals of the SRISTI-ILO initiative are:

a) to find technological innovations and innovative ideas which reduce and then eliminate  the demand for labour in manual, high drudgery involving tasks in general and child labour in particular

b) to find improved alternative technologies not only for the employer but also for adult workers. The income of workers will not go up and thus their ability to withdraw children from work will also not go up unless we improve their working conditions.  This is one of the most critical goals. Thus we need improved technologies for manual labour to eliminate the need for child labour.

c) In those activities in which child labour is found advantageous not on exploitative ground but also on the ground of their supple fingers, the need for development of technological alternatives is even more urgent, such as carpet, cotton seed development, and similar handloom or other technologies.

d) to find innovations which reduce the “repetitive manual labour”, improve productivity and thus eliminate demand for child labour

Ideas are needed for alternative technologies that eliminate child labour in construction, textile, handloom, manufacturing, sanitation, street vending, tea dhabas, and other sectors. We must however, note that not all situations of child labour can be handled only through technological means. We have to therefore blend technological, institutional and cultural changes as well. Though the project will focus on generating technological alternatives, while submitting ideas, the suggestions for institutional and cultural changes may also be mentioned. Our goal is complete elimination of child labour.


30th March, 2013: last date for submission to

10th April, 2013: workshop of contributors of short listed ideas and experts

30th April, 2013: compilation of ideas in a publically available digital book


Eligible for participation is anyone who comes up with a technological innovation or innovative idea for eliminating child labour.

Submission criteria:

Each person can submit any number of ideas with or without sketches, photos, drawings, videos etc., to provide specific technological means to a) eliminate child labour, b) improve productivity of the adult manual labour so that children are not required for the task, c) eliminate those tasks where child labour supposedly has been found to have a technological advantage, d) remove repetitive manual tasks and develop technologies improving income of the manual labour so that they can afford to withdraw children from work and send them to school.

In the cases, where ideas are patentable, the patent may be filed in a defensive manner to prevent others from monopolising the idea but to keep the ideas in public domain. The rights will belong to SRISTI to ensure their open access availability to any agency willing to use them for the elimination of child labour.

Summary of the ILO-SRISTI collaboration for the elimination of child labour

SRISTI in collaboration with ILO organises a nation-wide and open Case and Idea Competition involving leading engineering colleges and research institutions and groups in a transparent manner. The objective is to contribute to the prevention and elimination of child labour in India through adopting innovative alternative technologies to replace child labour. The exercise will involve the promotion of this competition amongst institutes / colleges/ groups working in the area of technological innovation. Deadline for handing in ideas is 30th March, 2013.

A national level workshop to deliberate upon the ideas submitted through the competition and selected as worthy of prototyping will be organised by SRISTI on 10th April, 2013. Finally, a compendium of shortlisted Ideas for Alternative Technologies that could result in the Elimination of Child Labour through their application in various industries or occupations will be developed and made available for public sharing and replication on 30th April, 2013.

Send your ideas!


Find the call also on

4 thoughts on “Call for Innovative Technologies and Ideas for the Elimination of Child Labour

  1. An excellent idea to think on. Child labour is because of the financial health of the parents. Incase parents can not afford their studies, people can mutually decide to give the due opportunity to the concerned child in their houses for studies and simultaneously grow with that family. I wish to begin that way.

  2. Nothing drives anyone better than money .
    Increase the minimum wages given to the Parents whose children are studying at school ,
    Reduce the wages of those who send their children to work .
    Government schools should look better than private schools ,have better facilities than private schools .Children should be drawn towards the better facilities given in the schools .

    • “.Children should be drawn towards the better facilities given in the schools.” Very good idea.
      For this, first of all, we must reduce the salary of those teachers who send their own children to private schools. Naturally, they will be forced to work with sincerity and diligence. Then, people will find meaning in sending their children to such schools.
      Ordinarily people send their children to work because they cannot meet the family’s expenses due to the paltry wages they themselves earn. Can you afford to punish them by reducing their wages?
      A. Ismail Sait.

  3. Pingback: SRISTI – Workshop on the Elimination of Child Labour through Technological Change | c@g

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