Child labor — a social ill that continues to plague Indian society
We live in 21st century which is an era of a modern and advanced society. There are some dark truths that run deep in our roots, Child Labour being one of them. While some of us are aware about it, many others deny to acknowledge this truth. Child Labour occurs when children are forced to take up work at an age they need to study and enjoy the phase of innocence. Child Labour leads to the loss of childhood and escalates the exploitation of children in various forms. India faces situations where children are forced to work under adverse conditions. Despite Laws against Child Labour, many children remain exploited as cheap Labour as the authorities are unable to implement strict laws and actions to protect children.
Laws in India
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, was the only enacted provision by the Indian Constitution against child Labour and its atrocities. Other provisions stated by the Indian Constitution are: Article 24 of the Indian Constitution states that no child below the age of fourteen shall employ in any hazardous employment or factory but not in non-hazardous industries. Article 39(f)) of the Indian Constitution states that children and young adults are to be protected against moral and material abandonment or any forms of exploitation. Unfortunately, these laws and regulations lack active and proper implementation and enforcement.
Root of child labour
The leading cause of child Labour is extreme poverty in India. To supplement their parents income or being the only wage earners in the family, children end up as Labourers in various industries. Hence, enforcement alone cannot help solve it. The Government has been laying a lot of emphasis on the rehabilitation of these children and on improving the economic conditions of their families. Child Labour is quite relevant in India due to poor schooling opportunities and the country’s high poverty rate. The other major factor is that children provide cheap labour, the person who wants labour has to pay less to them than adult labour. The child can be commanded more than an adult. The pull factor of the child labour is the profit maximization. The causes to failure to control the child labour are poverty, low wages than adult, unemployment, absence of schemes for family allowance, migration to urban areas, large family size, children being cheaply available, non existence of strict provisions for compulsory education, illiteracy, ignorance of parents and traditional attitudes13.
Child labour is a significant problem in India. The prevalence of it is shown by the child work participation rates which are higher in Indian than in other developing countries. Equal opportunities for development to all children during the period of growth should be our aim. For this purpose even we citizen should join hands with government and other institutions which are set up for this purpose. Educating the child can be a solution for solving the problem of child labour. To provide compulsory primary education and in order to reduce the burden on parents to meet the expenditure for their children’s education, while they are struggling for a day’s meal, our Government had allotted funds. But due to the lack of awareness most of the poor families are not availing these facilities. So, proper steps have to be taken to create awareness.