The term “child labour” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that:
- is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and
- interferes with their schooling by: depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
The worst forms of child labour involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities – often at a very early age. Whether or not particular forms of “work” can be called “child labour” depends on the child’s age, the type and hours of work performed, the conditions under which it is performed and the objectives pursued by individual countries. The answer varies from country to country, as well as among sectors within countries.
Not all work done by children should be classified as child labour that is to be targeted for elimination. Children’s or adolescents’ participation in work that does not affect their health and personal development or interfere with their schooling, is generally regarded as being something positive. This includes activities such as helping their parents around the home, assisting in a family business or earning pocket money outside school hours and during school holidays. These kinds of activities contribute to children’s development and to the welfare of their families; they provide them with skills and experience, and help to prepare them to be productive members of society during their adult life.
Child labour in india
India is one of the leading countries in Asia has a 33 million children employed in various forms of child labour .It is shocking that world’s largest democracy is yet to ratify the Minimum age convention 1973 (No 138) of the International labour organisation (ILO) that lays down ground rules for employment of minors across the globe.
1 in every 11 children in India works to earn a living ,according to statistics by action Aid India *There are five states which are India’s biggest child labour employers Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, as per data given out by save children NGO. National capital Delhi is responsible for a share of 1 million child labour alone.
Causes of Child Labour
Poverty is one of the main causes of child labour. In developing countries poverty is one of the major drawback and the children were considered as helping hand to feed their families, to support their families and to support themselves .Due to poverty, illiteracy and unemployment parents are unable to send them to schools, instead the children were asked to help them in running a family so that the poor parents send their children for work in inhuman conditions at lower wages.
The poor economic conditions of people in India force them to borrow money. The illiterate seek debt from money lenders during emergency situation .At later point of time they find themselves difficult in paying back the debts and interest, as a result the debtors were made to work for money lenders and then debtors drag their children too in assisting them so that the debts could be paid off.
There are some industries such as the bangle making industry, where delicate hands and little fingers are needed to do very minute work with extreme excellence and precision. An adults hands are usually not so delicate and small, so they require children to work for them and do such a dangerous work with glass. This often resulted in eye accidents of the children.
Rights of Children Under National Laws
India has also taken effective measure under national level. In order to eliminate child labour, India has brought constitutional, statutory development measures. The Indian constitution has consciously incorporated provisions to secure compulsory elementary education as well as the labour protection for the children. Labour commission in India have gone into the problems of child labour and have made extensive recommendations. The constitution of India, too provides certain rights to children and prohibits child labour such provisions are as follows:
- No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous work.
- state in particular shall direct its policy towards securing that the health and strength of workers, men and women and the tender age of the children are not abused and that citizen are not forced by economic necessity to enter vocations unsuited to their age or strength.
- Children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and the dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitations and against moral and material abandon.
- The state shall endeavour to provide, within the period of 10 years from the commencement of constitution, free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14 years.
- The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of 6 to 14 years as such a manner as the state may by law determine.
- Who is parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.
Failure of efforts
The main cause of child labour is higher poverty level .These children have no choice other than working as a labour in the factories child labour for these children is survival .if they don’t work they will die of poverty and hunger. They are the future of India .None of these children have the privilege to going to school and being able to go to a house at the end of the day. The child labour is prevalent at a large scale in the country. In Punjab it is found in hotels, restaurant, tea stalls, for which the administrative authorities, parents, educationalist, police officials and employers of public authority is responsible. There is lack of implementations of child laws. Since politicians and other authorities ignore it and the various departments for the labour laws fails to implement the laws properly .Laws remain merely on the paper for which the lack of control of population and increasing unemployment are the major causes and politicians fear to tackle these problems in view of their vote banks.
The remedy is only in the hands of the government, it should take necessary steps to eradicate poverty through employment to the parents of the child labour .Necessary practical steps should be taken to educate the children .The government should allocate the necessary funds to educate and nurture the poor children. The violators of child labour laws should be punished accordingly.
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