Telangana, a top cotton producing state, is to start mapping its entire supply chain as part of a unique collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to weed out child labour and slavery from its fields and factories. Senior labour officials said that the state will begin a three-year project with the UN labour agency to map its cotton growing farms and spinning mills to ensure its main industry is ethical this month.

“This is for the first time in India, that an integrated approach to identify both child and bonded labour is being undertaken,” said EslavathGangadhar, director of Telangana’s agency that tackles child and bonded labour. “This issue is very relevant for us because recent surveys have shown that more than 80 per cent of child labour cases are being reported in agriculture. And even globally, the focus is on sustainable cotton.”