ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Crusading for Children in India's Informal Economy

For the last decade or two, an interesting debate has been in progress over the definition of child labour and child work and the contribution of children's work in the informal economy. Those who have argued for a narrow definition have been motivated in part by the desire to reduce the size of the problem and thus make it more manageable. But this conceptual sleight-of-hand flies in the face of common sense and results in making the work of millions of children invisible to public policy and public action. This paper argues that the distinction at the conceptual level between child labour and child work is essentially flawed. It revisits some of the empirical questions around this distinction and concludes that such a distinction be abandoned both at the level of theory and practice.

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