As the country celebrated Children's Day Thursday, an NGO Voluntary Health Association of India (VHAI) urged the government to eradicate child labour from the bidi industry and other similar hazardous occupations.
The bidi industry continues to engage children in home-based settings across India as their nimble fingers are more adept at rolling bidis, said a statement from the non-governmental organisation.
"Moreover, children can be easily controlled and exploited since they are neither aware of their rights nor able to assert or safeguard themselves.
"Children are made to work for up to 14 hours a day with no breaks or holidays. Most of the children, particularly girls are made to discontinue school after primary level," the statement said.
The NGO demanded "immediate enforcement of the provisions of Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986 and all other related Acts to prevent employment of children in bidi rolling or other hazardous occupations".
It also demanded strict implementation of the Right to Education Act whereby all children under the age of 14 should have access to free and compulsory education.