Can Conditional-Cash Transfers Help Combat Child Labour?

Child labour involves the engagement of individuals aged five to fourteen in work, a range ostensibly banned by Indian law, and remains a pervasive issue. India has the highest number of child labourers globally, with an estimated 11.7 million children engaged in hazardous occupations and processes, constituting 4.5% of the children in the 5-14 age group. Increases in child labour post the COVID-19 pandemic underscore the insidious side of domestic and global supply networks. This issue brief explores the persistent challenge of child labour in India and scrutinises the legislative framework, particularly for adolescents engaged in non-hazardous work. The latter part of the brief explores Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs as potential solutions through a brief review of CCT schemes in India and their impact on incentivizing education to reduce child labour.