Child Labour is a social concern and efforts have been made on International level to reduce the harassment subjected to children. At such tender age when education and sports should be major highlights of their life, millions of children are subjected to the brutality of child labour. This affects the growth, development and progress of a child due to their engagement is odd jobs. It is a major concern and international issue and lot of efforts have been made to bring justice to the children. Children Labour includes children below the age of 14 and according to International Labour Organisation (ILO) is defined as “Work done by a child that stops him of his education, deprives the child of a beautiful childhood and activities performed that is not safe for his progress, development and health”. With an intention to work together and eliminate child labour, World Child Labour Day is celebrated on 12th June and many organisations take active part in spreading awareness about the issue.
Child Labour in India
India is a land of high population and rate of poverty is very high making it an essential for small children to engage themselves in child labour. There are millions of children who face the wrath of child labour in India. According to India’s Census 2001, child labour is defined as participation of any child below the age of 17 years in economically unproductive activity without getting proper wage and benefits of it. There are many laws and acts passed to prohibit child labour in India. The Factories Act of 1948 prohibits employing children below the age of 14 in any factory. The Mines Act of 1952 prohibits children below the age of 18 years to be employed in mines as labour. The Child and Adolescent Labour Act of 1986 was amended that prevents employment of children below 14 years in any occupation except for non-hazardous family work and as child artist. These are few laws and regulations that are passed to protect the rights of children and prevent child labour.
Reasons behind Child Labour
India is a densely populated country and not everyone is privileged with richness and comfortable living. There are many factors that push the innocent children into the trap of child labour and destroy their childhood. Lot of issues combine together and lead to alarming increase in child labour. Some of the prominent cause of child labour is given below
- The first and most common reason for child labour is high poverty rate. Millions of people in India fall under the poverty line with parents unable to afford one meal a day and this make it a causative factor for child labour.
- Lack of proper education and schools in rural areas is another reason of increasing child labour. Quality schooling and facilities lack in rural setup and this drives the children into child labour for extra income.
- Bonded child labour is another reason for increasing child labour where parents sign an agreement with a creditor for loan and in return send their children to work as labour for credit repayment. This calls for very cheap labour and makes child labour more prominent. Although Bonded Labour System (Abolition)Act of 1976 is passed to stop bonded child labour, hardly anyone pays heed to it.
- Low Parental Education is another factor that raises child labour level because low education calls for low income and in order to make end meet, children are forced into such situation.
Consequences of Child Labour
It is a serious threat to nation development and progress because it hinders economic welfare and fails to raise the literacy level. Child labour impacts the child not only in physical manner but makes them emotionally, intellectually and mentally unstable. The constant and prolonged hours of physical labour makes them more prone to diseases. Child labour reduces the literacy rate and deprives the child of his or her basic rights of education and reduces their ability to learn better skills. The increase in child labour directly impacts the development of the nation and makes the future of the nation a jeopardised situation.
Measures to stop Child Labour
Child Labour is an international issue and thus every country should play its part in reducing child labour and encourage children with education through government schemes and benefits. Many NGO’s have played an important role in fighting against child labour, rescued children from extreme conditions and helped in providing them with their basic education. Kailash Satyarthi of Bachpan Bachao Andolan won Noble Peace Price in 2014 for his tremendous contribution in fighting against child labour. Media has also played a strong role in highlighting the plea of these innocent children by exposing organisation and factories involved in child labour activities. There are many schemes and benefits opened by government to promote education and stop child labour. It is an invisible evil and we all should join hands to reduce it, to educate children and make their childhood beautiful like they deserved.