Causes of Child Labour in India & ways to stop it:
What is the meaning of child labour:
Most people in India belong to the labour class. They have no regular employment and they earn their living by working as day-labourers. Naturally, they fail to educate their children and give them two square meals a day. Their children, being deprived of the joys of their childhood, are forced to work as labourers in workshops, as domestic servants, as errand boys and girls at shops, and as helpers in garages or in cycle repairing shops. They also move around collecting Polythenes and some odds and ends on the orders of their masters who pay them little for such hard work. They also go out to beg from door to door and give all the money they collect by begging to their masters. Such types of children are called child labour.
Child labour is a crime that forces small children to do paid work. It affects the growth and development of children in every aspect that is physically, emotionally, socially, mentally. Child labour is a national issue that is rapidly growing in both developed and underdeveloped countries. Childhood is the birthright of every child but the illegal act of child labour takes away the basic rights of health, education, independence, etc.
Causes of Child labour in India:
As most people in India below the poverty line and lead a wretched life of misery and privation, the problem of child is very acute here. This child labour problem exists not only in India but also, in all other countries of the world. Driven by hunger and starvation these people get despaired and dejected and are compelled to send their children to work as child labour.
Some children are engaged in hazardous work in factories manufacturing dangerous weapons, some are engaged in making bombs, crackers, and other fireworks some are also engaged in ‘Bidi’ making work and are exploited by their master. Some also work as tailors’ helping their tailor masters in stitching garments.
The issue of child labour is quite prominent in India as families belonging to poor and weaker sections of the society send their children to work, to earn instead of educating them. Such kids are easy prey for industries as they always look for cheap labour. The main reason behind child labour is poverty, lack of education facilities, family problems, violating laws of child labour, improper social rules, insufficient laws of government, etc.
Indian child labour (prohibition and regulation) act, 1986 prohibits employing children below the age of 14. Children under the age of 14, should not be employed even for domestic help.
Types of Child labour in India:
Children are involved in home-based work and in informal sectors as labours. They are involved in the Agriculture sector, domestic, manual, hazardous factories, Rag picking, begging etc.
When Poor people don’t find any way to earn their living, they often beg on roads. They even force their children to do the same in order to get more money from the people.
This means buying and selling of children for labour or for sexual exploitation. Children are forced to work as slaves. The majority of children involved in this are girls, they are also trafficked for things such as child pornography.
Small children often work for educated families, irrespective of all the laws that violate the employment of children. They are made to do household work, take care of their homes and their children. These children will be provided with monthly payments.
When people don’t have sufficient money to pay off their loans, they work day and night. They also pull their children to work with them so that the loan can be easily paid off before the given time.
Industries are always in search of children rather than adults. Children are often hired for cheap labour pays. Some Industries require delicate and soft hands rather than rough hands like bangle industries. The children are at high risk as they are constantly being exposed to harmful gases and chemicals. They also may cut their hands and feet on glass and other sharp objects.
The agriculture sector in India’s biggest buyer of child labour. Children in this sector are hired for everything from cotton and cottonseed production to sugarcane, paddy and soybean transplantation, Watermelon, coffee production, etc. Children are made to work, long hours even in extreme weather conditions for low pay and poor living conditions. These children are exposed to pesticides that are harmful to their health.
Why should we stop Child labour:
With this end in view, our government has opened child labour schools in our country and has provided some non-government organizations with the necessary funds to open and manage child labour schools. International organizations also provide funding for these schools.
Such schools are located in slum areas where quite a good number of child labour live. A survey is undertaken by some government agencies or by some non-government organizations to identify child labour in different areas. Then schools are opened for them. They are taught some trade skills along with the school subjects. The purpose is to enable them to earn some money for their families by the trade skills. They have learned and to acquire the minimum level of learning at schools. Another aim is to disengage items from the hazardous occupations they undertake at the cost of their lives. They must get back the joys of their childhood life and move forward like other children in society acquiring knowledge and enjoying their lives in their own ways.
How to stop child labour:
Children may be forced to do child labour because of financial problems in their family. People should not use them for their earnings. Parents from the vulnerable section required proper advice and counseling to make them understand the importance of education. The government should come forward and identify such families by offering social security without caste and religious consideration. Children should get a chance to grow and develop inside the surroundings of school and family.
Child labour is a bane to our country. It is high time to eradicate from our society and punish the people who have been continuing this evil practice. The development of any nation begins with the welfare of children. The government should organize awareness programs and introduce laws that force children not to work or employ them as child labour.
Percentage of child labour in India:
The law strongly prohibits children in the age group of 14 to18 from working in a particular list of non-industrial and industrial processes that can pose a danger to them. They are prohibited from working in places like mines, or where inflammable substances like explosives and fireworks are used.
The law states that anybody employing a child below 14 years of age will be jailed for 6 months or two years and be made to pay a fine between Rs 20,000 and Rs 50,000, and the same applies for children between the ages 14 to 18. Even parents will be punished if they are found to be forcing their children to work without letting them go to school. The parents would be issued a warning for the first time, but if it continues then they will face punishment with a fine of up to Rs 10,000. Even with the law in place, child labour is still very much prevalent in India, and a lack of awareness of the law or implementation by authorities is contributing towards it.
In India, the law on child labour does include punishment if underage children are employed. However, it does not completely disallow their employment. Data from a 2011 Census shows that the total child population in India in the age group 5 to 14 years is 259.6 million and that 10.1 million or 3.9 percent of the total child population are working.
Some states have a higher number of underage children working in organized sectors like factories and manufacturing, and in unorganized sectors such as agriculture, construction, mining, and domestic work. There is also a good number of children who are being trafficked and put into bonded labour across the nation.
The law in India divides child labour into two categories, one is children below the age of 14, and the other is adolescents, children who fall in the age group 14 to 18. According to the age group they fall in, they are allowed to do the work that has been identified by law as suitable for them.
Children under the age of 14 are allowed the work in a family business or as a child artist in movies, TV shows, etc. But not in circuses or on the streets. But even in this case, a child below the age of 14 and adolescents can work only after school hours and during vacations.
In a democratic set-up like ours in which the constitution guarantees equal rights and opportunities to all persons without discrimination, children from all walks of life should be given compulsory education up to the age of fourteen. The purpose is to make them useful and sensible citizens of our country and prepare them to make decisions for the welfare of our country and share the responsibility of managing the affairs of our country.
But it is a pity that due to lack of sincerity and interest, government plans made to ameliorate the economic condition of their lives have failed and progress, as aimed at, has not been achieved. We have to think anew to better the condition of their lives and see them lively and cheerful in the course of their attaining academic growth and gaining social recognition.