Child labour in India is the biggest obstacle to the development of the country. The purpose of writing an article on child labour in India is to show how our future is being deprived of education. Due to a lack of information about the importance of education, parents encourage their children to work in extreme conditions. In this topic, we will learn about child labour in India and steps that should be taken to stop child labour in India and all other countries.
In this short note on child labour in India, we will learn about what is child labour, the history of child labour in India, child labour facts and laws against child labour in India.
Table of Contents
Child labour introduction
Child labour is a serious challenge for the perfect future of children. Across the world, child labour can be seen in a variety of industries such as carpet making, food services, clothing making, mines, agriculture, selling cigarettes on the streets and many other places. Children are also at risk of child trafficking which forces them to do bad things like sexual exploitation and child pornography etc.
Child labour definition
Child Labour meaning is defined as “employment of the child in any industry or occupation.” It is not a matter of money whether the child is working for wages or not. It is a bad habit that deprives the child of his childhood. Once the child starts working in industries or any other occupation, he is deprived of education. This is the biggest reason behind poverty and illiteracy in India.
Child labour in the world
According to the worldwide child labour report 2017 by the International Labour Organization, there were 246 million children working as child labour in 2000 and, in 2016, approximately 152 million children. The data is decreasing over time due to the efforts taken by the government however, there are millions of children who are continuously being exploited for cheap labour, especially in India.
Child labour in India
India has the largest number of child labourers in the world. Children born in poor families are being used as domestic labour in cities. The environment in which these children are working is the worst. They are often given work without any wages or sometimes even without food. There are many cases of child labour where children are being physically and sexually abused and forced into prostitution.
According to reports, around 20 per cent of children between the ages of 15 and 17 are working in hazardous environments. India is a most populated country, it is tough to measure the exact numbers of child labour as it is hidden or not reported. According to the International Labor Organization report, there are 18 million children (between 7-17 years of age) in India who are neither employed nor in schools. These children are subject to child labour who are working in the worst environment of child labour.
History of child labour in India
The history of child labour in India can be traced back to ancient times where the parents of the children used to do their ancestral work for the king. Their children were forced to do the same things that their parents used to do for their king.
In ancient times, the people were compelled to do the same work which their ancestors used to do for the king. As a result, children have to do the same things without their free consent.
The poverty and essence of good schools forced parents to engage their children in business.
Child labour statistics in India
According to the report on child labour in India as per 2011 census data, 10.1 million children are working as child labour, of which 4.5 million are girls and 5.6 million are boys. For simple understanding, one in ten children is doing child labour.
Children belong to the school, they are not for work.
Minimum age of labour in India
Article 24 of the constitution of India sets the law for child labour that:
“No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed on work in any company, mine of any other hazardous employment”
The child under the age of 14 cannot be used as labour in any business. According to article 21(A) of the constitution of India, the state has the due to provide free education to the child of age 6 to 14 years.
Children between the age of 15-17 are prohibited to do work in dangerous conditions.
Causes of child labour in India
There are many reasons for child labour in India. Children are often involved in child labour because of their parents who consider child labour to be “normal”. They are not aware of the importance of education in our life. Sometimes, the child used to work because of the conditions in his home and family. Let us discuss some child labour facts which are the main causes of child labour in India.
Poverty is the main reason which is pushing children into child labour. There are many families in India who are unable to meet the basic needs to run their households. They are also unable to fulfil their dreams of good food and shelter and cannot send their children to school. Due to poverty, they have no other option so they send their children to many workplaces so that they can help them in running the household.
Poverty is the main reason behind other problems which are increasing due to poverty. As such, families are not able to eat healthy food which is weakening the immune system. Poverty is the cause of illiteracy in India.
The low-income people are completely dependent on the forest. They used to sell animals and their parts so that they could earn some money. But by doing this they are inviting other problems and now, the situation is that we are making efforts to conserve wildlife for saving the animals which are decreasing day by day.
Lack of Education
Education is very important in our life. All children should be educated because they are the future of our country. The school environment should be welcoming to the children. It should be affordable for every family. The government is running many programs like free education in schools and free food under schools. But to remove illiteracy, many other steps have to be taken. Government should tell every family about the importance of education.
Poor qualities of laws
The government has enacted many laws to stop child labour. But there is a need to tighten these laws and make strict rules for those who break these laws. If we make the laws stricter, it will help children not to work forcibly.
No access to good work
The people have no access to do decent work. They are not aware of the basic education, due to this, they are unable to develop new skills for the work so they are working in the Hazardous atmosphere.
No understanding of Child Labour
People are not aware of the consequences of child labour in India, they see it as a process of character building of children. Parents are not aware that child labour can cause health problems and can ruin their future by getting trapped in child labour. They are constantly sending children to work.
Natural disaster or climate change
Many rural households in India are dependent on seasonal crops. Sometimes, crops are destroyed due to natural calamities and climate change. Now, they have no other option for food, so they send their children to work to help them make up for the loss.
Migration and emergencies
People search for work from one city to another due to lack of work which hinders the education of their children. Sometimes, the survival of new cities becomes costly for them. It forces children to work with their parents.
The reason for migration can be an emergency. An emergency can ruin the life of a poor family and parents are left with no option but to send their children to work in dangerous situations.
Child trafficking is also one of the biggest causes of child labour which force children to work in extremely dangerous conditions. There are many cases where parents sell their children because of poverty. The person who buys these children exploits these children and forces them to work for them.
Laws against child labour in India
The Government of India made the first law for child labour in 1993. The law prohibited boys and girls from working in hazardous conditions and from engaging in any activity that could harm the mental, moral and social development of underage children of 18 years. This law was made for the benefit of children. However, this law was not of much help and child labour continued. There were many loopholes in the law and people were using these loopholes to take advantage of child labour which is cheaper as compared to others.
This law was allowing children to work in their family business and it was legal. Thus, it was not helping the children who were selling cigarettes on the roadside, as it was part of their family business.
The government again enacted laws in 2006 and 2016 which made some strict rules in the field of child labour. It was prohibiting a child below the age of 14 from having any domestic or service staff in hotels.
But there were some points that were not enough to stop child labour which is as follows:
- The law was not applicable to children under the age of 15-17 because they were only prohibited from doing dangerous work.
- Family businesses were still acceptable
- The law did not exclude sectoral activities like carpet weaving etc.
The government is still making new rules and regulations to enforce and tighten the laws against child labour. The Indian government is developing new laws that will increase punishment for employers who use child labour under the age of 14. As of now, there is a fine for the offence of child labour but the government may combine imprisonment with a fine in the latest law.
Case Study on Child Labour
10 years old child rescued from a tea stall in front of the school
A person informed the child helpline Ambala that a boy is doing child labour in a stall in front of the school. The person said that the child is a minor. The ChildLine Ambala sent the letter to the Child Welfare Committee to investigate the case. They made a committee and rescued the boy (Aman). The Child Welfare Committee gave him shelter until his parents found it. Later, the Aman’s family were found. The Child Welfare Committee checked their IDs and handover their minor son to them. The Child Welfare Committee gave them the advice to put Aman in the school and let him make his own future.
What needs to be done to stop child labour in India?
There are many steps that should be taken by the government to stop child labour in India. We can stop child labour by:
- Combat extreme poverty
- Making strict laws for child labour in India
- Telling about the importance of education
- Providing quality education to the children
- Making laws to stop child trafficking
- Supporting NGOs for Child protection
- Providing skill-building programs, so that the person can learn new skills
- Discouraging parents to employ children in houses, shops and other places.
- Providing work opportunities for people so that they can send their child to school
Download Child Labour essay pdf
The conclusion of this essay on child labour in India is that the country should make strict laws and take necessary steps to stop child labour in India. It is reducing the literacy rate of the country. A child who is not going to school for education cannot do much to make the country proud. We should help poor children by informing NGOs and child care centres so that they can save these minor children.
People should aware of the importance of education in our life. With these some small and major steps for the abolition of child labour, we can save our future from starving and other dangerous diseases.