Child labour in India: Future in dark

Despite every possible precaution undertaken by government and Non Government Organization Child labour still remains one of the arduous issues in developing India even after 64 years of Independence. Every nation spends huge amount of funds on educating and garnering children that will develop to be building blocks of the nation and even India does the same but still India has largest number of child labour in world why? A recent survey has predicted that there are at least 15 million child labours in India are working in various sectors of industries.

Child labour in India: Statistics

Actually, child labour is strict violations of many concrete rights of children and is considered as serious grievance and complex social problem in the Indian society. According to National Sample Survey Organization, India have almost 16.4 million children between the age of 5-14 engaged in economic, domestic or non-remunerative work whereas the same figure was put forth by World Bank to be 44 million.

Let’s Analyze Government Policies against Child Labour in India

  • Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1886: Indian government first passed the legislature against this issue as Child Labour Act in 1986 to limit the overwhelming issue of child labour but was limited to cover only the organized sectors in country. Although child labour act was very much of importance, this law completely excluded the child labour working in unorganized sectors as most of the labour force in India is still exploited by the unorganized sector of industries. It was necessary on the part of Indian government to impose strict and forbidden laws against this issue in the era of globalization and liberalization despite thinking of the production process and their requirements.
  • National Child Labour Project: In 1988, Indian government started National Child Labour Project (NCLP), to motivate and convert child labours in to formal education. With successive years, this scheme was adopted by many states and relevant districts in them. Despite all the attempts to effectively emulate this scheme, so far it has not attained a legitimate goal exposing the limited coverage of the scheme, compared to the vast magnitude of child labour in India.
  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act 2000: This child labour act was lastly modified in 2002 by updating views of UN Convention on Rights of the children to cover children below the age of 18 years. Under the provisions of this act bondage labour and withholding earnings of child labour in hazardous employment is punishable under the law. So far, this act is effectively used in many states to bring many child labour employers to book in the state of Karnataka and Maharashtra.
  • The Right of Children to free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009: Under this Act, government is entitled to provide free and compulsory education to all the children within the age of 6-14 years. Under the effect of this law, it states that 25 percent of seats in every school must be reserved for children from disadvantaged group, which includes differently abled children.


Which Industrial sectors employ child labours in India?

Although there is significant outcry from people and NGO’s in India about the increasing use of bondage child labour in some specific industrial sectors, very little has been done to understand and eradicate the root cause of this problem. Although the problem lies in government policies having many pitfalls and also due to some of the logical, rational and financial reasons it has again one of the serious issues of concern when it comes to child labours.In the last few decades, India has seen a subtle growth in export based businesses and mass production industries however, due to increasing appetite to generate more profits many such industries have lower technological utilization and remain competitive by maintaining low labour and low wages standards. This gives rise to favorable conditions to increase child labour and most of these industries are Fire cracker industries, Diamond Industries, Glass and Brass ware industries, Carpet weaving, bangle making, Lock making, Mica cutting, Matchbox industries and to some extent in agriculture industries.

Children are being forced and exploited in labour and at the same time not receiving education when India is on the verge of becoming developed nation is a serious cause of concern. Although India has seen a constant rise in the literacy rate and enrollment of children in elementary schools, child labour still withstands to be one of the fastidious issues that need immediate attention. If our politicians could get time from scams and dirty politics then they should do something serious about this, as this is the question of India’s future.

  • Mohit

    What is the age limit for Child Labour in India?