The project will contribute to the implementation of decent work in the cotton supply chain in India

The project will contribute to the implementation of decent work in the cotton supply chain in India

The southern Indian state of Telangana is to start mapping its entire cotton supply chain as part of a project with the International Labour Organization (ILO) that aims to stamp out child labour and slavery.

The project 'Promoting Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW) in Cotton Supply Chain' was announced in April as a collaborative effort with the government of Telangana, social partners and other stakeholders.

It aims to aiming to build an ecosystem to contribute towards decent work and better livelihoods in cotton growing communities, particularly workers and small/marginal holding farmers.

According to a report from Thomson Reuters Foundation, the project kicks off this month and will run for the next three years.

The report says 80% of child labour cases are reported in agriculture – and the cotton supply chain is the hardest to track as the journey from field to retailers involves several stages.

Telangana is the third-largest cotton producing state in India, which in turn has the largest area under cotton cultivation in the world – about 11 million hectares according to the Ministry of Textiles. 

Six of Telangana's 10 cotton growing districts will initially be mapped for labour violations under the project, the Thomson Reuters Foundation says. The project will look at gender discrimination in salaries for agriculture workers and whether they have collective bargaining rights. The state will also train officials from various government departments, including labour and education, to identify and stop any form of forced labour in cotton fields.

The ILO could not be reached for comment.