"There is no greater violence than to deny the dreams of our Children
Child labour is a major problem in India since early labour market
participation during a child's formative years means skipping out on a proper
education, which reduces the child's chances of earning more money in the
future. Child labour is a complicated issue that has its roots mostly in
Childhood is a crucial period in human development since it can shape
any society's fate. Children who are raised in an environment that supports
their intellectual, physical, and social growth will grow up to be responsible
and useful members of society. As a result, every society connects its present
with its children's future.
When it comes to defining the boundaries of child labour, religious and cultural beliefs can be misleading and obfuscating.
This article examines the numerous causes of child labour and seeks to identify
the instances of discrimination in the industry. The article argues that the
eradication of child labour requires a comprehensive approach that goes beyond
legal interventions to address the root causes of the problem, such as poverty,
lack of access to education, and social norms that devalue children's rights.
The article concludes with a call for stronger protections and government
policies that prioritize the welfare of children and their right to a childhood
free from exploitation and harm.
Child labour has been a long-standing problem in India, with an
estimated 10.1 million children aged between 5 and 14 years involved in child
labor in 2011, according to a survey conducted by the Indian government. Despite
the existence of laws and policies aimed at preventing child labour and
protecting children's rights, the practice persists in various sectors of the
Indian economy, including agriculture, domestic work, and the informal sector.
In recent years, there have been some positive developments in India's efforts
to address child labour. In 2016, the government amended the Child Labour
(Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, which banned the employment of children
under 14 in all occupations and processes. The amendment also prohibited the
employment of adolescents between 14 and 18 years in hazardous occupations and
processes. However, there have also been some concerning trends related to child
labour in India.
For instance, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increase
in child labour as families struggle to make ends meet due to job losses and
reduced incomes. Additionally, there is evidence of children being exploited
in the informal sector, such as in home-based work and in the production of
goods for export. Also, there are challenges related to the implementation and
enforcement of child labour laws in India.
The government has limited resources
and capacity to monitor and enforce child labour laws effectively, and there are
also issues related to corruption and lack of awareness among stakeholders.
Moreover, there are social and cultural factors that contribute to the
prevalence of child labour in India, including poverty, lack of access to
education, and social norms that devalue children's rights.
The article on child labour in India in light of current trends provides an
overview of the legal framework, implementation, and enforcement of child labour
laws in India, as well as the social and cultural factors that contribute to the
problem. The article also discusses the challenges and opportunities related to
addressing child labour in India and highlights the need for a comprehensive
approach that goes beyond legal interventions.
The article begins with a brief
background on child labour in India, highlighting the prevalence of the problem
and the persistence of child labour despite existing laws and policies. It then
provides an overview of the legal framework related to child labour, including
recent amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
The article goes on to discuss the challenges related to the implementation and
enforcement of child labour laws in India, including issues related to
resources, capacity, corruption, and lack of awareness among stakeholders. The
article also examines the social and cultural factors that contribute to child
labour in India, such as poverty, lack of access to education, and social norms
that devalue children's rights.
Legal Framework For Child Labour In India:
The necessity for legislation and
statutes to forbid the harmful use of child labour was recognised when, in the
20th century, child employment became so prevalent that stories of factory
accidents and risks killing innocent children splashed all over the press.
Today, many laws exist to criticise and forbid child labour, including: 
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986:
This law prohibits the employment of children below 14 years of age in hazardous occupations and processes, and regulates the conditions of work of children in non-hazardous occupations and processes. The law was amended in 2016 to prohibit the employment of children below 14 years of age in all occupations and processes.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015:
This law provides for the care, protection, and rehabilitation of children in need of care and protection, including those who are victims of child labour.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009:
This law provides for free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of 6 and 14 years.
The National Child Labor Project Scheme:
This is a government scheme that aims to withdraw children from work and provide them with education and vocational training.
The National Policy for Children, 2013:
This policy provides for the protection, development, and participation of children in all aspects of life, including education, health, and social welfare.
The National Action Plan for Children, 2016:
This plan provides a framework for implementing the National Policy for Children and addresses issues related to child labour, child trafficking, and child abuse.
The legal framework related to child labour in India has several strengths and
Some of these are:
Despite the prevalence of child labour in India, the country has a
legal framework in place to address the issue. The Child Labor (Prohibition and
Regulation) Act, 1986, prohibits the employment of children below 14 years of
age in hazardous occupations and processes and regulates the conditions of work
of children in non-hazardous occupations and processes.
The law was further
strengthened in 2016 to prohibit the employment of children below 14 years of
age in all occupations and processes. India has also ratified several
international conventions related to child labor, demonstrating its commitment
to addressing the issue. Another strength of the legal framework is the Juvenile
Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, which provides for the
care, protection, and rehabilitation of children in need of care and protection,
including those who are victims of child labor. The Right of Children to Free
and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, provides for free and compulsory education
to all children between the ages of 6 and 14 years, which is essential for
preventing child labour and promoting the well-being of children.
Notwithstanding the legal framework, there are several weaknesses in
addressing child labour in India. One of the main challenges is the lack of
effective implementation and enforcement of laws. The government agencies
responsible for enforcing child labour laws lack the resources, capacity, and
political will to effectively address the issue. Corruption is also a major
issue, with some officials turning a blind eye to child labour in exchange for
Another weakness is the cultural and social acceptance of child labour
in India. Many families are forced to rely on the income of their children to
make ends meet, and there is a lack of awareness among parents and communities
about the negative impact of child labour on children's physical, emotional, and
cognitive development. There is also a lack of social protection measures for
vulnerable families, such as access to healthcare, education, and social welfare
In addition, the legal framework does not adequately address the issue
of child labour in the informal sector, which accounts for a significant
proportion of child labour in India. Children working in the informal sector are
often invisible and not protected by labour laws, making it difficult to address
the issue. Finally, there is a need for greater collaboration and coordination
among government agencies, civil society organizations, and international
organizations to address the issue of child labour in India.
Implementation of child labour laws in India:
Challenges to effective implementation:
Child labour has undoubtedly become a
social and economic issue throughout time, but there are a number of reasons why
parents permit their children to work, with poverty and a lack of quality public
education being the two most significant. "Bounded labour" is the worst type of
child labour. Children who are sold by their parents to make money, settle
debts, or repay loans are the subject of this term.
This is how our social
structure looks when a youngster is made a victim at a young age. It
establishes the employee-slave relationship as an ongoing aspect of societal
structure. In rural India, child labour of this kind is widespread. Child labour
is directly affected by widespread unemployment and job losses since children of
all ages are compelled to work.
The Child Labour Act, a piece of legislation
intended to prevent child working, has not been successful in doing so, and the
union government's revision to the law, which allows children younger than 14
years of age to work in "non-hazardous" family businesses, was seen as a step
backward. The implementation of the labour law and the compulsory education
system has proven ineffective.
While the labour department may assert that it is
following the script, the reality on the ground depicts a quite different
picture, especially in the informal sector. Children are compelled to work as
domestic helpers, bus drivers, in auto shops and garages, in the weaving
industry, and as street vendors.
Family obligations, which are related to high
unemployment and the weakening state of the economy, have become indisputable
factors contributing to an increase in child labour, while inadequate
enforcement of the law has slowed the fight against it.
Role of Government and Other Stake Holders:
Employers have a responsibility to ensure that they do not exploit child labour and to create safe and healthy working conditions for all workers. This includes complying with labor laws, providing fair wages and benefits, and ensuring that children are not employed in hazardous or exploitative work.
- Civil society organizations:
Civil society organizations can play a critical role in advocating for the rights of children, raising awareness about the harmful effects of child labour, and providing support to child labourers and their families. They can also monitor and report on violations of child labour laws and advocate for their enforcement.
- Parents and communities:
Parents and communities can play a role in preventing child labour by valuing education, advocating for their children's rights, and creating safe and supportive environments for children. Communities can also work together to identify and report instances of child labour and support the rehabilitation and reintegration of child labourers.
- International organizations:
International organizations, such as the United Nations and the International Labour Organization, can provide technical and financial support to governments and civil society organizations to address child labour. They can also help to develop international standards and guidelines for the prevention and elimination of child labour.
The government has a primary responsibility to protect children from labour exploitation and to enforce child labour laws. This includes ensuring that laws are effective, developing policies to address the root causes of child labour, and allocating resources for prevention, protection, and rehabilitation of child labourers.
The Government of India has implemented various schemes to prevent and address
child labour in the country.
Some of the key schemes are:
National Child Labour Project (NCLP) scheme aims to rehabilitate child
labourers and prevent children from entering the labor force. Under this scheme,
special schools are set up for child labourers, where they are provided with
formal education, vocational training, and nutritional support.
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is a flagship program of the Government of India for
the universalization of elementary education in the country. The program aims to
provide free and compulsory education to all children up to the age of 14 years.
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is a scheme that provides a package
of services for the holistic development of children under the age of six years,
including health care, nutrition, and early childhood education.
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) scheme aims to provide
employment to rural households, including those with children, to prevent them
from engaging in labour for survival. Under this scheme, households are provided
with at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year.
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao is a campaign that aims to address the issue of
declining child sex ratio and promote the education of girls. The campaign
encourages parents to send their girls to school and provides financial
incentives to families for the education of girls.
These schemes aim to prevent and address child labour by providing education,
vocational training, and employment opportunities to children and their
families. The government is also working towards strengthening the legal
framework for child labour and improving its enforcement.
- A bench of S Mukhopadhaya and N Tiwari ruled in Ganesh Ram v. State of Jharkhand and Others on April 5, 2006, that if a person under the age of 14 gets employed, a penal order may be issued against the employer under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation Act of 1986), but no such order may be issued against the employee.
- "Delhi High Court directs the Govt. of NCT of Delhi to come out with a proper scheme to address the issue of rehabilitation of these rescued children by providing some kind of economic help so that the parents or guardians do not force them to work as child labourers again to meet with their basic needs and to supplement their income for their basic survival," stated the court in
Jayakumar Nat & Anr vs. State Of NCT Of Delhi & Anr on September 4, 2015.
- State of Tamil Nadu v. M.C. Mehta, 1997:
This case is regarding the constitutional perspective on the elimination of child labour and the hiring of children under the age of 14 at the infamous Sivakasi Match Industries. The Court stated that the orders were practicable and inevitable and reaffirmed the need for their swift execution after taking account of the reason why the constitutional duty had not been carried out.
The Link Between Child Labor And Human Trafficking:
Vulnerability Of Male Children To Human Trafficking:
Human trafficking of male
children for child labour is a pervasive issue in India. Boys are often targeted
for labor trafficking due to their perceived physical strength, which makes them
ideal for heavy manual labour. Male child labourers are forced to work in a
variety of industries, including agriculture, mining, construction, and
The traffickers, often working in collusion with local
recruiters, lure the children with false promises of decent wages and working
conditions. However, once the children arrive at the job site, they are often
forced to work in hazardous conditions for long hours without adequate food,
water, or rest. They are subjected to physical, emotional, and sometimes sexual
Many of these children come from poor families and are forced to work to
support their families. In some cases, parents are deceived into giving their
children away, while in other cases, children are abducted or sold. Once they
are trafficked, it is difficult for them to escape as they may be isolated from
their families, community and do not have any legal or social support. Male
child labourers are denied their basic rights such as education, healthcare, and
a safe and secure environment. They are often subjected to extreme poverty and
exploitation, which has a long-lasting impact on their physical and mental
health, as well as their ability to thrive in the future.
Exploitation And Abuse Of Female Child Laborers:
Human trafficking of female
children as child labour is a major problem in India. Girls are trafficked from
rural areas to urban centers, where they are forced to work in a variety of
industries, such as textiles, domestic work, and agriculture. They are often
sold or lured with promises of work, but once they reach their destination, they
are forced to work in hazardous conditions for long hours without proper food,
water, or rest.
The traffickers often target vulnerable girls from poor
families, who are more likely to be lured by the promise of income. Girls may
also be trafficked by family members or acquaintances who falsely promise
employment or marriage. Once they are trafficked, the girls may be forced to
work for years without any contact with their families. Female child labourers
are subjected to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse by their employers, and
many suffer from malnutrition, illness, and injury due to the harsh working
They are often denied basic human rights, such as education,
healthcare, and a safe and secure environment. Girls who are trafficked for
labor are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, as they often have limited
legal protections and social support. They may also face discrimination based on
their gender, which can exacerbate their vulnerability to exploitation and
Physical And Emotional Impact On Children As Child Labourers:
Children who work in hazardous conditions, such as in mines,
factories, and construction sites, are at risk of physical injury and illness.
They may suffer from respiratory problems, skin diseases, and other health
problems due to exposure to toxic chemicals and pollutants. They may also
experience physical injuries from accidents, falls, and machinery. Child labourers are often subjected to long hours of work without proper rest, leading
to fatigue, exhaustion, and malnutrition. This can result in stunted growth,
weakened immune systems, and other health problems.
- Emotional impact:
Child labour can have a lasting emotional impact on children,
affecting their self-esteem, confidence, and sense of identity. Children who
work may experience feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety, as they are
often separated from their families and peers. They may also suffer from trauma
and stress due to abusive and exploitative working conditions. Child labour can
also limit a child's access to education, preventing them from reaching their
full potential and perpetuating a cycle of poverty. Children who are forced to
work miss out on the opportunities for learning and personal growth that come
with attending school, which can have a long-term impact on their lives and
Social And Cultural Factors Contributing To Child Labor In India:
Parents that are socially backward do not send their kids to school. As a
result, their kids are forced into child employment. Many times, parents are
unaware of different information and programmes for children's education because
of illiteracy. Child labour has been fostered by a lack of education,
illiteracy, and, as a result, a lack of awareness of rights ,among children.
Additionally, uneducated parents are unaware of the effects child labour has on
their children. Rural households have a compulsive reason for including kids in
a variety of duties due to the situations of poverty and unemployment. In
actuality, India's child labour issue is still perpetuated by the remains of the
feudal, zamindari system.
There Are Various Kinds Of Social Factors Contributing To Child Labour:
Comprehensive Approach To Addressing Child Labor In India In Paragraph:
- Dependency, ailment, or impairment:
Due to addiction, illness, or handicap,
there is often no income in the family, and the child's wages are the only
source of support. Additionally, when the population grows, unemployment rises,
which has a negative effect on efforts to prevent child labour. In order to
boost the family's income, parents are willing to send their kids to work
instead of enrolling them in school.
- Inadequate adherence to regulations, nonconformity with laws:
that people have the right to a quality education, access to quality healthcare,
and self-care. Every citizen has the right to enjoy all forms of entertainment,
play the games they want, and when they're older, to find a job that will allow
them to make a good living and give back to their community and country. But
child labour is still being used in India because the regulations are not being
followed properly. Only rigorous adherence to the relevant laws will make it
- Attraction to inexpensive workforce:
Some shops, businesses, and factory
owners hire children out of a desire for cheap employment so that they can pay
them less, which amounts to hiring cheap labour. Shopkeepers and other small
business owners make children work just as hard as older people while only
paying them half as much. Child labour also reduces the likelihood of theft,
greed, or money misappropriation.
- Heritage convention:
The sad but bitter truth is that child labour is
frequently excused in many households in our culture under the guise of
tradition or custom. At the voluntary level, cultural and traditional family
values contribute to India's growing problem of child labour. Many families
think that a nice life is not in their future and that the only way they can get
money and support themselves is through the age-old practise of labour. The
selfishness of small business owners who want to carry on their family firm with
lower production costs also wastes the lives of their children. Some families
also think that putting their children to work from an early age will help them
become more responsible and savvy adults.
- Bias between males and females:
We have been socialised to believe that boys
are stronger than girls and that they cannot be compared on an equal footing. In
our society, there are still numerous instances where girls are denied the
opportunity to pursue their education. Girls who are considered as being weaker
than boys are denied access to education and school. Girls are often found
working alongside their parents in families who are labourers.
Addressing child labour in India requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted
approach. Firstly, strong legislative measures and enforcement mechanisms must
be put in place to prohibit and penalize child labour practices. This includes
regularly updating and strengthening existing laws, increasing penalties for
offenders, and ensuring effective implementation and monitoring.
needs to be a focus on addressing the root causes of child labour, such as
poverty, lack of education, and limited economic opportunities. This involves
implementing poverty alleviation programs, promoting inclusive and quality
education, and creating skill development initiatives for vulnerable families.
Additionally, raising awareness among communities, parents, and employers about
the negative impacts of child labour is essential to change societal attitudes
Collaboration between the government, civil society
organizations, and international stakeholders is crucial to pool resources,
share best practices, and coordinate efforts in combating child labour.
Furthermore, providing support and rehabilitation services for rescued child
labourers is vital to their physical, psychological, and social well-being. By
adopting this comprehensive approach, India can make significant strides in
eradicating child labour and ensuring a brighter future for its children.
In conclusion, child labour remains a pressing issue in India,
posing numerous challenges to the well-being and development of children. It is
a violation of their rights, depriving them of their childhood, education, and
opportunities for a better future. However, concerted efforts are being made to
address this problem through legislative measures, awareness campaigns, and
It is crucial to continue implementing and strengthening child labour laws,
improving enforcement mechanisms, and addressing the underlying causes of child
labour such as poverty and lack of education. This article highlights the
current trends and challenges of child labour laws in India.
It emphasizes the physical and emotional impacts on children engaged in labour,
the strengths and weaknesses of the legal framework, and the role of the
government and other stakeholders.
The challenges to effective enforcement and the link between child labour and
human trafficking are also discussed. The article sheds light on various
government schemes aimed at preventing child labour. Also, it calls for a
comprehensive approach involving strong legislation, poverty alleviation,
education, awareness, and rehabilitation programs to effectively address child
labour in India and ensure the well-being and future prospects of its children.
Only through collective action we can ensure a brighter and more equitable
future for the
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Arpita Sahu
Authentication No: MY350625513477-20-0523