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Child Labour Is Child Abuse For Which You Have No Excuse

Childhood is the most memorable time of one’s life. It’s the period to relish and cherishing every moment. Childhood is the most memorable time of human life the time spent in this period is leaves unfathomable remark on one’s life. As whatever falls on wet cement makes an impression, same goes with the childhood. But, if the childhood is spent working in industry, factory etc. can destroy their present as well as future.

Child labour takes place when children are forced to work at the age when they are expected to play, study, and enjoy their phase of innocence. In other words it can be said that deprived childhood that leads to exploitation of children in various forms : mental, physical, social, sexual, and so on. The law makers have an obligation to put an end to evil practice of child labour in India.[1]

All children in India are not lucky to enjoy their childhood (that is stress free life). Many of them are forced to work under inhuman conditions where their miseries have no end. There are many laws banning child labour, still children continue to be exploited. The reason behind this is that the authorities are unable to implement the laws meant to protect children who are below 14 years of age engaged to do work as labourers. Children are forced to work in unregulated condition without adequate food, proper wages and proper rest. They are also subjected to physical, sexual and emotional abuse.[2]

Agriculture is the largest sector where children work at early ages to contribute their family income. Rural areas employ 85% of child labour in India. They are forced to work due to following factors:
  1. Poverty
  2. Unemployment
  3. A large family
  4. Lack of education

Development of the country is directly affected by this crime and child labour is a big reason of under development of the country.
According to Child Labour Prohibition And Regulation Act, 1986, an age criteria for child in hazardous fields is 14 and non-hazardous fields is 17 years. Extreme poor and rural areas are the sources of the evil child labour or child slavery.

Background of Child Labour

In British India, a large number of children were forced into labour due to increase in need of cheap labour to produce a large number of goods. The companies also preferred recruiting children as they could be employed for less pay, better utilized in factory environment, lacked knowledge of their basic rights, and possessed higher trust levels. The practice of child labour continued even in the post-independence India though the government considered to take the legislative measures against child labour.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, incorporated the basic human rights and needs of children for proper progression and growth of their younger years.[3]
Article 24 of the constitution bans engagement of children below the age of 14 years, in factories, mines and other hazardous employment.[4]

Article 21A and Article 45 promises to impart free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of 6 and 14.[5]

The Child Labour Prohibation And Regulation Act, 1986, prohibited children younger than the age of 14, from being employed as child labour in hazardous occupations.[6]

In 2009, India passed a right of children to free and compulsory education act (RTE). The Child Labour Prohibition And Regulation Amendment Act, 2016, passed by parliament, prohibits the engagement of children in all occupations and of adolescents in hazardous occupations and processes. Adolescents are those who are under 18 years of age, and children are those who are under 14 years of age. The act also imposes a penalty on anyone who employs or permits adolescents to work. India contributes to one-third of Asia’s child labour and one-fourth of the world’s child labour.[7]

Widespread Prevalence of Child Labour

Rural areas employ the largest number of child labour. In urban areas, they work in dhabas, tea-stalls and restaurants, and households. They are shamelessly exploited in the unorganized sector as domestic servants, hawkers, rag pickers, paper vendors, agricultural labourers and as workers in industrial concerns.

Some of the industries which employ children as labourers include match industry in Sivakashi, Tamil Nadu ; glass industry in Firozabad ; brassware industry in Moradabad ; handmade carpet industry in Mirzapur, Bhadoi ; precious stone polishing industry in Jaipur, Rajasthan; lock making industry, Aligarh ; slate industry in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh.[8]

Consequences of Child Labour

Child labour inflicts damage to a child’s physical and mental health. A child labourer has no rights to education, development, and freedom. Children employed as labourers work in unsafe environments where there is a constant danger of fatal accidents. They are forced to live the life of poverty, illiteracy and deprivation. They are required to perform physically demanding tasks and in return receive only low wages.

Poor working conditions cause severe health problems to such children. A child labourer not only suffers from physical and mental torture but also becomes mentally and emotionally mature too fast which is never a good sign.[9]

Various Laws But No Implementations

Apart from the enactment of the Child Labour ( Prohibition And Regulation ) Act, 1986, the Indian Constitution has incorporated various provisions against child labour such as the following:
  • According to Article 24, no child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or in any hazardous employment.[10]
  • According to Article 39(f), childhood and youth are to be protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.[11]
  • Article 45 states that the state shall endeavor to provide within a period 10 years from the commencement of the Constitution free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14 years.[12]
  • The Factories Act, 1948, prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years in any factory. The Mines Act, 1952, prohibits the employment of children below 18 years if age in a mine.[13]
  • Various laws and the Indian Penal Code, such as Juvenile Justice ( Care And Protection ) Of Children Act, 2000, and The Child Labour ( Prohibition And Regulation) Act, 1986, seeks to prevent the practice of child labour in India.[14]
These laws and regulations have not been backed by effective and proper implementation and enforcement.

Conclusion
Collective efforts are needed on the part of society and the government to put an end to the practice of child labour. Every citizen should take a pledge to never employ child labourer, rather discourage others too from doing so. We should create awareness amongst people employing child labourers and the parents sending children to work. We need to provide to every children a happy childhood where they are able to enjoy the best period of their lives with a careful attitude.

The government should make efforts to increase the incomes of parents by launching various development schemes. Efforts should be made towards poverty eradication combined with educational reforms to provide free or affordable access to quality education.
Only by taking comprehensive steps, the government can hope to eliminate all forms of child labour.[15]

Suggestion to curb this social evil:
In order to eliminate the social issues of child labour, there is need to follow some effective solutions on urgent basis to save the future of any developing country.

Following are some solutions to prevent child labour:
  • Creating more unions may help in preventing the child labour as it will encourage more people to help against child labour.
  • All the children should be given first priority by their parents to take proper and regular education from their early childhood. This needs much cooperation from the parents as well as from schools to free children from all walks of life.
  • Child labour needs high level social awareness with the proper statistics of huge loss in the future for any developing country.
  • Every family must earn their minimum income in order to survive and prevent child labour. It will reduce the level of poverty and thus, child labour.
  • Family control will also help in controlling the child labour by reducing the families burden of child care and education.
  • There is need of more effective and strict government laws against child labour in order to prevent children from working in their little age.
  • Child trafficking should be completely abolished by the governments of all countries.
  • Child workers should be replaced by the adult worker as almost 800 million adults are unemployed in this world. In this way adult will get job and children will be free from child labour.
  • Employment opportunities should be increased for adults in order to overcome problem of poverty and child labour.
  • Business owners of factories, industries, mines, etc. should take the pledge of not involving children in any type of labour.[16]

End-Notes
  1. Articles
  2. Book
  3. International law – S.K. Kapoor
  4. Constitution – J.N. Pandey
  5. Constitution – J.N. Pandey
  6. Labour and industrial law – S.N. Mishra
  7. Internet
  8. Internet
  9. The Economics Of Child Labour – Allessandro Cigno, Furio C. Rosati
  10. Constitution – J.N. Pandey
  11. Constitution – J.N. Pandey
  12. Constitution – J.N. Pandey
  13. Labour And Industrial Law – S.N. Mishra
  14. Indian Penal Code - Bhattacharya
  15. Self
  16. Internet

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