Childhood is considered the most enjoyable period of life. The is period is free from any time worry or responsibility.
This period is the formative period of life. Parents do everything to fulfill the needs of their children.
They are brought up with the utmost care, love, and affection. But it is sad to see that the innocent have to work to earn money. This is known as child labour.
The system of child labour is also prevalent in India. It is the worst type of child exploitation. No child likes to work in the budding periods of life of his life.
It is the poverty of their parents that forces them to do labour. Some parents cannot earn enough to feed their family members. So they compel their children to do some job and earn money.
What are the pros and cons of child labour?
Problems of Child Labour in India
The problem of child labour has become a serious problem. Children have to work in homes or shops or factories where they are paid very low wages.
They have to do every type of dirty work without any rest or interval. Some children do not return home at night.
They sleep at the bus stands or in the railway waiting hall or on the footpath. Even their parents have never felt worried about them.
The Indian law prevents the employment of children in factories but not in cottage industries, family households, dhabas, and restaurants, or in fields.
Most of the children are school drop-outs. Our system of education and economic policies needs a rethinking. Children should be provided job-oriented education right from primary classes.
Poor and illiterate parents should be made aware of the disadvantage of child labor. Population control is also very necessary.
Child Labour is in India and the world
Child labour is one of the biggest problems. It is not only prevalent in India but also a world problem. This problem is not a new problem.
It was also present in ancient times. Children were required to do some work either at home or in the field with their parents.
The most important causes of child labor are poverty, large family, ignorance, and lack of education.
In poor families, children have to work to support their families. The poor parents are ignorant about the value of education.
They are concerned only with earning two square meals a day. In this job, their children have also to work.
Thus poverty compels them to work to keep the wolf away from their doors. But in spite of child labor, the poor lead a miserable life.
Exploitation of children
Child labour is the worst type of child exploitation. The Indians look upon children as the gifts of God. But poverty snatches their childhood from them.
Sometimes poverty forces the poor parents to take loans from the zamindars or their master. This loan is never paid by them and they become bonded laborers’.
Sometimes they have to pawn or pledge their children to get money. Thus the vicious circle of bandha mazdoor’ goes on from one generation to the other.
Munshi Prem Chand’s famous novel ‘Godan’ and a serial ‘Udaan’ on Colors channel beautifully present the condition of bonded labour and child labour.
The economic condition of Poor families
Economic condition is the main reason for child labour. The economically bad classes believe that more hands bring in more resources.
Thus they go on producing children. They feel that their children will become their supporters when they are six or seven years old.
They never think of sending them to schools. According to a report, child labour is employed mainly in 20 products.
These products include bidis, bricks, fireworks, glass bangles, matches, and carpets, etc. Some children work in homes and tea-shops where they have to clean the utensils and do sweeping.
Indian Law for Child labour
In India, there is a law against child labour. The Indian Constitution provides that no child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any workplace.
The ban on child labor has been extended to the domestic and hospitality sectors. Because of this law, child labour is almost absent in the organized sector.
But the situation is not good in the unorganized sector. There the anti-child labor law is thrown to the winds.
We can find a great number of child laborers in the rural areas, in farms, fisheries, and cottage industries.
In England, when the Industrial Revolution took place, child labor was required to clean the factory chimneys.
The miserable condition of the children has been presented in William Blake’s poem ‘Chimney Sweepers’. Child labour deprives children of attending school.
Besides, working for long hours in unhygienic conditions, and eating unhealthy food, the health of the children is adversely affected.
However, a great benefit to employers is that child labor does not form trade unions. Besides, it is available at low wages.
So far as the exploitation of child laborers is concerned, it is a naked truth.
A Survey report about Child labour
According to a survey, children, for the same type of work, are paid less than the adult laborers. Poverty has an intimate relationship with child labor.
Poor families need money to survive. and children are a source of additional income. Thus poverty and lack of social security are mainly responsible for child labour and bonded labour.
In The Tribune, the Chief Editor has expressed his views on child labour. He has said, “Make employers responsible.”
According to him, a few months ago, hundreds of children were found working as labourers in one of the farms in Punjab.
During the Prevention of Child Labor Week, 281 children were rescued from across the state. Of these, 116 were pursuing dangerous occupations.
It is not that the country lacks legal protection to protect children from exploitation. Their numbers continue to grow. U.S. agencies estimate that the number of child laborers in India could be between four and six million.
The law stipulates only one-year imprisonment and a maximum of Rs. 20,000 fine; In fact, a small amount of Rs.200 is a penalty in most cases.
The government has passed a number of laws
The government has passed a number of laws such as the Child and Adolescent Labor Prohibition Act, the Right to Education Act, 2010 and implemented schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan which encourage the enrollment of children in schools.
It also claims that the number of child laborers has come down from 1.25 crore (Census 2001) to the current figure of 49.6 lakh (National Sample Survey).
Not surprisingly, these figures were arrived at on the basis of a sample size of approximately 70,000 across the nation.
The government needs to conduct a genuine survey to gauge the magnitude of the problem and make the enforcement machinery accountable.
Unless employers are made accountable under stringent laws, child labour will continue to shame the nation.
It has become a challenging job to deal with the child labor problem. Efforts are being made to lessen some of the evils of child exploitation.
The world has set an aim to eliminate the practice of child labour by 20
16. In fact, the problem of child labour has three faces-social, economic and political. The most important factor of the three is poverty.
Child labour can be checked by reducing poverty in rural areas. If child labour is banned all of a sudden, it will not bear fruitful results. In many poor families, it is necessary for children to work.
To some extent, child labour contributes to development. Most of the children belong to those families where the family’s survival depends on their labor.
A distinction must be made between forced labour and employment. Children should be allowed to work in their family-based cottage industry like pottery, poultry, or knitting and weaving. Here the children can work in their spare time after school.
Conclusion of child labour essay
On the whole, the issue is how to root out the problem of child labour from India. Besides removing poverty, vocational and technical education should be introduced from the primary stage.
It is true that this problem cannot be eliminated overnight but in a phased manner. At least, anti-child labour law should be enforced with an iron hand and the defaulters are put behind the bars.