Contents What is Child Labour? 2 Why include children in the workforce? 3 1) Poverty:3 2) Population Explosion:4 3) Lack of Primary Education for children5 4) Parental Illiteracy6 5) Social Apathy6 6) Family practice to inculcate traditional skills in children7 7) Urbanization and Unemployment7 8) Industrial Revolution:8 9) Ineffective Child Labour laws implementation:8 Prevalence of child labour in India or elsewhere9 Pros and Cons of Child Labour9 Advantages:10 Disadvantages:10 International Response to Child Labour11 United Nations11
International Labour Organization12 Key legislative landmarks regarding child labour12 ILO’s response to child labour13 INDUS Child Labour Project14 Response of Corporates16 Evolution of the various Constitutional and Legal Provisions16 Initiatives towards Elimination of Child Labour – Action Plan and Present Strategy18 Popular Cases related to Child Labour21 Suggestions to stop Child Labour21 Success stories of Rescued Child Labourers22 Every child comes with a message that god is not yet discouraged of man. – Rabindranath Tagore What is Child Labour?
Child Labour Essay Example
There is no universally accepted definition of child labour. Governments, social activists, international organizations and other groups all have their own interpretations of the term. Generally speaking, child labour is “work for children that harms them or exploits them in some way (mentally, physically or by blocking their access to education)”. It is important to realize that not all work can be considered child labour. Children undertaking a few hours of household chores, helping out with the family shop, or doing school related work is actually beneficial for them.
Such work will not hamper the education, but in fact helps improve social skills and enables to learn a new trade. While some types of work like soldiering and prostitution are universally considered unacceptable for a child, several social scientists have their own benchmarks for child labour. As UNICEF’s 1997 State of the World’s Children Report puts it, “Children’s work needs to be seen as happening along a continuum, with destructive or exploitative work at one end and beneficial work – promoting or enhancing children’s development without interfering with their schooling, recreation and rest – at the other.
And between these two poles are vast areas of work that need not negatively affect a child’s development”. There are industries and individuals who employ young children and put them to work under gruelling situations. Millions of children in India and abroad are forced to work long hours threading carpets or manufacturing fireworks. The conditions under which they work can be best described as torture. Most of them do not even get to see the light of day; education is a distant dream. Child labour is a complex problem affecting all countries of the world.
Even though it mainly stems from poverty, a wide variety of social, cultural, economic and political factors are responsible for its existence. Most countries have laws against child labour. Children over the age of thirteen can perform light work; at fifteen, regular work is permissible and at eighteen years of age, one may take part in all types of work. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that over 400 million children between 5 and 14 years of age are currently involved in some type of paid work or labour worldwide.
Even though Asia and Africa account for most instances of child labour, it is not confined to these continents. In spite of all the laws protecting children, we find that child labour is still rampant, more so in India and other south and south-east Asian countries. The various social organizations which have sprung up in order to combat it have barely managed to put a dent in the number of child labourers. In some cases, the parents of the children force them into employment because of poverty and in others the children themselves enrol in it voluntarily.
In the subsequent sections, we attempt to document the various facets of child labour, the reaction of the international community towards it and the extent of success of the measures undertaken. Based on this information, we will attempt to suggest measures to combat child labour. Why include children in the workforce? One of the main reasons children are included in the workforce is because of the low costs. Children also tend to be very quick in learning new skills. Their inclusion has been justified on the grounds that their “nimble fingers” can work with certain types of machinery that adults cannot.
In the early nineteenth century, children were made to work in mines in England because most of the shafts were too narrow for adults to pass through. Most young children are so innocent that they are not aware of their rights; the generally do not protest or go on strikes or demand better pay, in other words they can be easily controlled. Main causes of Child Labour 1) Poverty: As of 2010, 37% of India’s 1. 2 billion people are below poverty line. Also the World Bank estimates that a third of the world’s poor resides in India and poverty is the main cause of child labour.
Parents are forced to send their children for labour because they need means for survival. Monetary constraints and need for food clothing and shelter drive parents to send their children to hazardous jobs even though their heart does not agree. That’s why you frequently see parents sending their children to industries and also find children picking plastic bottles, polythene bags, paper etc. from huge pile of rubbish. We can also see children begging along with their parents for survival, some get their eyes blinded and limbs amputated for begging.
Girls who are in their teens are forced into prostitution; some are sewing from day break to night fall. So poverty has a deep impact on children being forced into child labour. Also, in poorer families if the single bread earner becomes ill then the whole family gets affected and has a huge impact on their survival. So this is one of the primary reasons why poverty urges parents to send their children for labour. Some of the poorer families also have more number of children and this adds to their woes and forces them to send their children for child labour.
Though poverty is one of the main causes of child labour, it may not be always a cause for child labour. For example, in poorer regions of Kerala child labour is very less and the reason is attributed to its high HDI. 2) Population Explosion: [pic] According to the Provisional Population Totals of Census 2011, the population of India is estimated to be around 1. 21 billion and which is growing at a rate of 1. 58% per year. According to the statistics provided by UNICEF, there are an estimated 250 million children aged 5 to 14 years employed in child labour worldwide and this figure is continuously increasing.
Because of this population burst, there is scarcity of resources and when there is scarcity and more mouths to feed, children also are sent to work. Table 1 Percentage of children in total population |Age group |1991 |2001 | 2006 | |0-4 |12 |10. 7 |10. 4 | |5-9 |13. 2 |12. 5 |10. 7 | |10-14 |11. 9 |12. 1 |11 | |5 -14 |25. 1 |24. 6 |21. 7 | |0-14 |37. |35. 3 |32. 1 | Note: 1991 Population Census figures excluded J & K State and for Comparative purposes figures for J & K for 2001 were excluded. Source: Population Census 1991 and 2001 and Population Projections, Based on 2001 Census of India, (2006) including J & K [pic] As we can see from the above tables and graphs that the population of children has decreased over the decades from 1991 to 2001. The reduction in child population in India is attributed to a reduction in the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) especially in the states of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
But TFR remains high in some of the states like UP, Bihar, Rajasthan and MP. It can be seen that the proportion of children in population has an effect on child Labour. Number of empirical studies on child labour has associated large family size with high incidence of child labour (Source: VV Giri National Labour Institute, 1999). 3) Lack of Primary Education for children Lack of quality primary education in the rural areas makes people look for better profitable alternatives. This forces parents to send their children for child labour.
Since India’s independence the number of children attending school has increased from 19. 2 million in 1950-51 to 113. 8 in 2000-01 (Source UNICEF India). But this increase is very less when compared to the total increase in population of children over the last few decades. But several problems persist. Of India’s 7, 00,000 rural schools, only one in six have toilets deterring children especially girls from going to school. Also schools are facing shortages in resources, classrooms and teachers. In addition, there are social and cultural factors like caste differences, discrimination against the girl child etc. hat play a crucial role for parents to resist in sending their children to schools and prefer child labour instead. |[pic] | |© UNICEF India | |Girls ready for class. | | | According to International Labour Organization (ILO), if child labour will be banned and all children get proper education the world’s total income would be raised by nearly 22% over 20 years, which accounts for more than $4 trillion. ) Parental Illiteracy The illiteracy among parents makes them to take irrational decisions and thereby send their children for labour. Because of their ignorance they do not understand the importance of education which is very much needed for the mental development of the child. From the below table, percentage of child labour and rural literacy has an inverse relationship. So lack of primary education among the children will increase the chances of child labour. 5) Social Apathy Most of the times in urban India, you see children working as maids in households of the upper middle class and the elite.
This social apathy shown by many individuals in our society also leads to child labour. These people are not at all apologetic for employing these children for doing household work. Also we see many restaurant owners employing children as chaiwalas and utensil cleaners. |Location |Incidence (%) |% Total Rural| | |of Child Labour| | | | |Literacy rate| |Jhabua (Madhya Pradesh) |25. 2 |13. | |Surguja (Madhya Pradesh) |11. 1 |24. 98 | |Durg (Madhya Pradesh) |5. 5 |50. 4 | |Kurnool (Andhra Pradesh) |14. 1 |33. 3 | |Mahabubnagar(Andhra Pradesh) |14. 6 |25. 3 | |Saharsa (Bihar) |6 |26. 9 | |Dumka (Bihar) |7. 9 |31. 5 | |Kalahandi (Orissa) |12. |27. 9 | |Koraput (Orissa) |12. 7 |17. 4 | |Periyar (Tamil Nadu) |8. 5 |53. 8 | |Kamarajar (Tamil Nadu) |8. 9 |55. 7 | |Dharampuri (Tamil Nadu) |8. 1 |43. 3 | [pic] Source: National Labour Institute 2000. Also “strengthening of rural literacy programmes would lead to nearly 50 per cent decline in the incidence of child labour” (National Labour Institute 2000, booklet on Bihar: 2) ) Family practice to inculcate traditional skills in children Some families like potters, blacksmiths, mechanics etc. try to inculcate traditional skills in their children from a very young age. At an age when children should be left free and allowed to play, people force them to learn these skills so that they could convert them into earning machines very soon. Such nature of many families can again be attributed due to poverty, illiteracy and population growth as explained above. 7) Urbanization and Unemployment
Adult unemployment and urbanization are also the causes for child labour. When compared to adults, factory owners feel that it is profitable to employ children because of cheap labour rates. Also some of the factory owners think that they can command and control children more easily that their adult counterparts and make them to do hazardous works. Children being innocent and unable to understand the risk of what they are doing agree to do which otherwise are refused by many adults. This exploitation is particularly visible in garment factories of urban areas.
You also find a lot of children working in some of the urban restaurants employed for cleaning in their kitchens. Especially in urban areas of south India (Bangalore for example) there are lot of children who come from Bihar and Maharashtra for livelihood and work in restaurants as floor and utensil cleaners. Sometimes, illiterate unemployed adults when they cannot find jobs relax at home and live on the labour of poor helpless children. 8) Industrial Revolution: Though industrial revolution helped in the economics growth of the country it also brought some negative effect like child labour.
Sometimes multinationals prefer to employ child workers in the developing countries. This is so because they can be recruited for less pay, more work can be extracted from them and there is no union problem with them. This attitude also makes it difficult for adults to find jobs in factories and as a replacement send their children instead. Exploitation of children by Nike in Pakistan is an example. Nike used children from third world countries in the production of soccer balls and this news upset many US citizens who later boycotted Nike products and demanded Nike not to use child labour in its actories. Nike finally had to come down and change its plan in third world countries. Such incidents by many multinationals are common especially in third world countries. But it is shocking to know that it is not only multinational companies but also some companies set up in rural India which has child labour as its workforce. 9) Ineffective Child Labour laws implementation: Most of the above causes of child labour could be curbed by strict and proper implementation of child labour laws.
Though we have laws like Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act which imposes punishment for people who employ children as labour ranges from a jail term of three months to two years and/or a fine of 10,000 to 20,000 rupees (about $200-$400), the state is ineffective in implementing them properly. This is because of corruption that is prevalent in India. Many factory owners bribe the Government officials for not taking any legal action against employing child labour in their factories and this is one of the main reasons why the state is ineffective in implementing the child labour laws.
Police are unable to bring in charges, to hold someone responsible and to punish the offenders. Prevalence of child labour in India or elsewhere As per the report released by the International Labour Organization, in 2008 there were 215 million children working illegally, almost 14% of all the world’s children under 18. In sub-Saharan Africa, this proportion rises to 25%. Among the 10 to 14 year-old children the working rate is 41. 3% in Kenya, 31. 4% in Senegal, 30. 1% in Bangladesh, 25. 8% in Nigeria, 24% in Turkey, 17. 7% in Pakistan, 16. 1% in Brazil, 14. 4% in India, 11. % in China. The global total includes 115 million children below eighteen years of age engaged in potentially dangerous work which threatens their well-being, such as handling chemicals, carrying heavy loads, mining, quarrying or engaging in long working hours. The remaining 100 million child labourers are those under fifteen years of age – the international minimum age for legal employment – whose tasks are not hazardous but are more substantial than “permitted light work. ” Almost all child labour occurs in developing countries, with about 60% engaged in agriculture.
Other occupations include domestic service, factory production and backstreet workshops. The darkest category of child labour relates to those children who indulge in criminal activities such as prostitution, military enrolment, slavery (such as bonded labour), or trafficking (which involves the removal of a child from its home, often involving deception and payment, for a wide range of exploitative purposes). These categories are beyond the reach of statistical surveys but the numbers are likely to be over 10 million.
Together with hazardous work, they are described as the “worst forms of child labour. ” The small drop in the recorded occurrences of child labour in the three-year reporting period 2005- 2008 is mildly uplifting. The most significant change is the 31% drop in hazardous work for children under 15, but this is countered by a 20% rise amongst the 15-17 year olds. Figures are gender-sensitive for the first time and show that child labour amongst girls fell by 15% over the four years. The accuracy of this child labour data has improved but is based on national surveys conducted over the period 2005-2008.
The impact of more recent economic instability and rising food prices on poor households is therefore not yet reflected in the figures. Pros and Cons of Child Labour Even though employing children is considered morally wrong and the UN has condemned it, there has been some debate over it. Points have been brought forward both supporting as well as denouncing child labour. Advantages: 1. Given the fact that a majority of the child workers hail from poverty stricken families in developing countries, child labour is essential for their sustenance.
Most of these families live below the poverty line and any extra income is necessary to make ends meet. 2. It gives orphans the opportunity to earn a living and sustain themselves. With no family to care for them, they are usually left to fend for themselves (there are not enough orphanages to house all the orphans). The chances are that the orphans will end up with the same type of job once if they choose to complete their education. They may choose to skip that part and jump into the job market directly. 3. Some employers are of the opinion that if introduced to the nuances of the job early in life, people perform better.
Children are far better at learning than adults; hence it is a good idea to get to work earlier. For example, the children of farmers usually end up being farmers themselves, so why not introduce them to it at an early age. This learning opportunity may also help the child become an entrepreneur at a later age. It also helps build their character and work ethic. 4. In the employer’s perspective, child workers are usually easier to handle. They do not demand much and usually obey orders. They need be paid much less than the adult labourers.
Children usually do not involve in strikes or protests. 5. The concept of a “normal childhood” is relatively new and only valid in certain western societies. Historically, children and teenagers have been involved in helping out with the family business, be it agriculture or industry. Until modern times, introducing children to the work early has been the norm and that is how it still is in many developing countries. Disadvantages: 1. Children are not developed enough physically or mentally to handle the stress of certain jobs. They cannot handle tasks assigned to them as well as an adult. 2.
Children being innocent and oblivious to the dangers involved in certain tasks tend to be careless and this might lead to accidents in the workplace. 3. Education is one of the basic requirements of a child. No matter what his career choice is, every child deserves to have the basic minimum amount of schooling to learn and develop skills to reach full intellectual potential. Being employed full time deprives them of that opportunity. Many of them remain illiterate throughout their lives, this not only harms the image of the nation in the long run, but the individuals themselves are prone to exploitation. . Children usually get paid less than their adult counterparts even though they work equally if not longer hours. It has been reported that some children are made to work for 15 hours or more. This is blatant exploitation. 5. Exposure to hazardous conditions in industries such as in asbestos, cement or fireworks factories can cause serious physical harm to the children. Their bodies cannot handle it as well as adults. Some dangerous diseases if contracted in the growth stage can leave them crippled for life. This may also reduce their life spans. . Children lack the education or the technical skills necessary to perform certain jobs. Despite what some people argue about children being good at picking up new skills, they cannot compete with professionally trained adults. While hiring children can be economical in the short run, we end up creating a country where the labourers are unskilled and illiterate. 7. Exploiting young and innocent children is morally wrong. Employers tend to cut costs and end up destroying their childhood. International Response to Child Labour
Governments of many countries where child labour is rampant are indeed concerned about the issue, recognizing the long-term detrimental impact of child labour on the country as a whole. However, the countries where the problem is most prevalent are often the poorest, and thus limited in what they can do by the resources available to them. However, it is not simply a question of money. Resistance may also come in the form of social barriers, as in the family of the child may not be willing to forego the income. The factory owners may also resist the loss of their cheap labour.
Corruption within local law enforcement agencies can also put a dent in the effectiveness of any policy that might be introduced. United Nations After the World War II, United Nations was formed to protect Human Rights after realizing the plight of innocent people and children in the two world wars. United Nations “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” adopted in 1948 includes Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which calls for compulsory free primary education. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prohibits slavery, servitude and forced labour and calls for the protection of Minors.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is of special relevance to child labour. It provides basic rights to children such as primary education, freedom of association, freedom of thought, rest and leisure, participation in cultural and artistic life. It protects children from any threat that might be hazardous or harmful to their health, education, physical, mental, spiritual or social development. In Article 32, it calls for countries to: define a minimum age for admission to employment; regulate the hours and conditions of employment and apply sanctions to ensure enforcement of employment legislation. pic] In 1950, on the second anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, students at the UN International Nursery School in New York viewed a poster of the historic document. After adopting it on December 10, 1948, the UN General Assembly had called upon all Member States to publicize the text of the Declaration and “to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories. ” (UN Photo)
International Labour Organization The ILO was founded in 1919 by Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I. The key requirements of ILO on member states are to: • Pursue a national policy to abolish child labour • Set a minimum age for admission to work • Gradually increase the lower age limit on work till the full physical and mental development of children. • The prohibition and immediate elimination of the worst forms of child labour such as slavery, debt bondage and child prostitution. Key legislative landmarks regarding child labour include: 919: ILO Minimum Age (Industry) Convention No. 5: Establishes 14 years as the minimum age for industrial work 1930: ILO Forced Labour Convention No. 29: Provides for the suppression of forced labour in all its forms 1966: UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Article 8 confirms that slavery and forced labour are unacceptable 1966: UN International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights: Article 10 seeks protection for young people from economic or other exploitation and requires each State to set a minimum employment age 1973: ILO Minimum Age Convention No. 38: Introducing an obligation to ensure that children are not employed at an age younger than that for completion of compulsory schooling. Associated Recommendation calls to 146 countries to raise minimum employment to 16 years. 1989: UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: Affirms the child’s right to the full range of civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights, including protection from work that is counter to the child’s interests. 998: Dakar Declaration Representatives of the Movements of Working Children and youth of Africa, Latin America and Asia met in Dakar (Senegal) to lay done rules to improve the quality of life of Child Labour. 1999: ILO Worst forms of child labour Convention No. 182: addresses the extremes of child labour calling for their immediate elimination Numbers on the extent, characteristics and determinants of child labour are provided by the Statistical Information and Monitoring Programme on Child Labour (SIMPOC), which is the statistical arm of IPEC.
SIMPOC assists countries in the collection, documentation, processing and analysis of child labour relevant data. ILO’s response to child labour The ILO’s International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) was created in 1992 with the goal of the elimination of child labour progressively by providing resources to countries to fight child labour. IPEC has operations in 88 countries, with an annual expenditure of over US$100 million. It is the largest programme of its kind globally and the biggest operational programme of the ILO.
IPEC’s partners include employers and workers organizations, other international and government agencies, private businesses, community-based organizations, NGOs, the media, parliamentarians, the judiciary, universities, religious groups and children and their families. IPEC’s work to eliminate child labour is an important facet of the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda. Child labour prevents children from acquiring the skills and education they need for a better future. It does not eliminate poverty but affects national economies through losses in competitiveness, productivity and potential income.
Withdrawing children from child labour, providing them with education and assisting their families with training and employment opportunities contribute directly to creating decent work for adults and children. INDUS Child Labour Project The INDUS (India-US) Child Labour Project was an inspirational project of the ILO-IPEC, between Government of India, and the US Department of Labour. It was a US$40 million initiative which started in 2004. The project covered an estimated 80,000 children across 21 districts in 5 major states of India.
The project came to an end in March 2009. The INDUS Project target districts include • Madhya Pradesh • Maharashtra • Tamil Nadu • Uttar Pradesh • Delhi INDUS aims to eliminate child labour in these 5 states among 10 hazardous sectors like • Hand-rolled beedi cigarettes • Brassware • Leather, rubber, and plastic footwear • Hand-blown glass bangles • Hand-made locks • Hand-broken quarried stones • Hand-spun/hand-loomed silk thread, yarn and fabric • Fireworks • Hand-dipped matches • Handmade bricks Strengthening Public Education
To ensure that children withdrawn from the hazardous sectors do not relapse, Transitional Education Centres (TEC) were established to ease the mainstreaming of children back into schools within 24 months. Education up to Class VI and VII were provided by the TECs. Primary health care including health check-ups, school meals and stationaries were all funded by the project. Each child was paid a stipend of Rs. 100 per month, as long as they attained a minimum attendance rate of 80%. Providing vocational training Vocational centres were established to help children develop basic job skills which make decent incomes in the future viable.
In addition to focusing on knowledge, skills and computer literacy, the centres also carried out life enrichment education, which includes basic workers’ rights and the dangers of HIV/AIDS. Traveling allowances of up to a maximum of Rs. 300 per month and toolkits were provided. Providing income-generating opportunities to the families of child labour In an effort to compensate families’ loss of income due to their children not being able to work, training agencies that specialize in micro-enterprise development and skill training were established.
These agencies assisted families in selecting an appropriate micro-enterprise or to improve an existing skill. Results of the INDUS Project The proportion of children aged 10–14 who are economically active fell from 8. 7% in 2001 to 6. 6% in 2006, as shown in Table 1. Primary school net enrolment rate between years 2005-2009 was 83%, a more than threefold increase from the 1950s level of 26%. Criticisms of Project Delays in the Transitional Education Centres (TEC) resulted in enrolled children being transferred to public schools at a slow rate.
Having completed the education provided by TEC, children were not moved to public schools on time. Progress in the income generation module has also slacked. The monetary benefits were only made available to a few targeted mothers in Tamil Nadu by mid-2007. Child Labour (10-14 years) |Distribution of |No. of employed children |No. of employed children |% of employed children |% of employed children | |children |(2001) |(2006) |(2001) |(2006) | |Male |6804336 |4276744 |8. |6. 7 | |Female |5862041 |3894131 |8. 5 |6. 3 | |Total |12666377 |8082954 |8. 7 |6. 6 | Table 1: Magnitude of child labour in India Response of Corporates Child Labour is becoming an ethical issue for Global Community including businesses. They have an obligation to take responsibility for the influence they have on this issue.
Companies across the world are taking a stand against child labour. In addition some companies are working hard to develop clear strategies regarding child labour including not trading with companies which employ children as labour. At the same time, there are also companies that continue to ignore this issue but the public has started voicing concerns regarding the child labour and in today’s information based societies, such concerns can be aired freely and spread rapidly damaging the reputation of such companies and subsequently having other long term implications.
World Day against Child Labour is celebrated on June 12th with different themes each year to increase awareness among people regarding the pros and cons of Child Labour. Evolution of the various Constitutional and Legal Provisions relating to Child Labour in India Child labour issues existed not only in India but in other countries and after the formation of United Nations these issues became even more prominent. Even before the constitution came into existence there were some acts enacted for the safety of child labour working in various industries mainly due to international pressures.
These were precursor to some of the fundamental rights and legislative provisions giving safety and basic rights to children. Major ones are – The Factories Act, 1948: The Act prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years. An adolescent aged between 15 and 18 years can be employed in a factory only if he obtains a certificate of fitness from an authorized medical doctor. The Act also prescribes four and a half hours of work per day for children aged between 14 and 18 years and prohibits their working during night hours.
The Minimum Wages Act, 1948: Prescribes minimum wages for all employees i n all establishments or to those working at home in certain sectors specified in the schedule of the Act. Central and State Governments can revise minimum wages specified in the schedule. Some consider this Act as an effective instrument to combat child labour in that it is being used in some States (such as Andhra Pradesh) as the basis on which to prosecute employers who are employing children and paying them lower wages. The Mines Act, 1952: The Act prohibits the employment of children below 18 years of age in a mine.
Further, it states that apprentices above 16 may be allowed to work under proper supervision in a mine. Legislative Provisions • The Constitution of India (26 January 1950), through various articles enshrined in the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy, lays down that: • No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment (Article 24); • The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age six to 14 years. Article 21 (A)); • The State shall direct its policy towards securing that the health and strength of workers, men and women and the tender age of children are not abused and that they are not forced by economic necessity to enter vocations unsuited to their age and strength (Article 39-e); • Children shall be given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth shall be protected against moral and material abandonment (Article 39-f); The State shall endeavour to provide within a period of 10 years from the commencement of the Constitution for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14 years (Article 45). Initiatives towards Elimination of Child Labour – Action Plan and Present Strategy The problem of child labour continues to pose a challenge before the nation. Government has been taking various measures to tackle this problem but this is something inextricably weaved into our society due to poverty and illiteracy therefore it requires concrete efforts from all sections of the society to eliminate child labour.
In 1979, Government formed a committee called Gurupadswamy Committee to study the issue of child labour and to suggest measures to tackle it. The committee observed that one of the main reasons why children were employed as labour is due to poverty therefore just formulating laws will not be able to eradicate poverty and child labour. The Committee felt the first step should be banning child labour in hazardous areas and regulating the conditions of work in industries where children were working.
Based on the recommendations of Gurupadaswamy Committee, the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act was enacted in 1986. The Act prohibits employment of children in certain specified hazardous occupations and processes and regulates the working conditions in others. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986: The Act prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years in 16 occupations and 65 processes that are hazardous to the children’s lives and health. These occupations and processes are listed in the Schedule to the Act.
Since then the list is increasing. In October 2006, working in the domestic sector as well as roadside eateries and motels were included under the prohibited list of hazardous occupations. And in September 2008, diving as well as process involving excessive heat (e. g. working near a furnace) and cold; mechanical fishing; food processing; beverage industry; timber handling and loading; mechanical lumbering; warehousing; and processes involving exposure to free silica such as slate, pencil industry, stone grinding, slate stone mining, stone quarries as well as the agate industry ere added to the list of prohibited occupations and processes A National Policy on Child Labour was formulated in 1987. This Policy focused on rehabilitation of children working in hazardous occupations & processes. The Action Plan outlined in the Policy for tackling this problem is as follows: • Strict enforcement of Child Labour Act to ensure that children are not employed in in occupations listed in the Prohibited list of employments and working conditions are regulated. • Providing general Developmental Programmes for benefiting child labour and their families by employment generation and poverty elimination. In 1988, the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme was launched in 9 districts of high child labour concentration in the country. Under this scheme, special schools were run for child labour where along with education and vocational training they were also given stipends and other benefits. • Regular inspections and raids to detect cases of violations of Child Labour Act. The coverage of the NCLP Scheme has increased from 12 districts in 1988 to 100 districts in the 9th Plan to 250 districts during the 10th Plan. The next development with respect to child labour laws came in year 2000.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act, 2000: This Act was last amended in 2002 in conformity with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which covers young persons below 18 years of age. Section 26 of this Act deals with the Exploitation of a Juvenile or Child Employee, and provides in relevant part, that whoever procures a juvenile or the child for the purpose of any hazardous employment and keeps him in bondage and withholds his earnings or uses such earning for his own purposes shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable for fine.
In some States, including Karnataka and Maharashtra, this provision has been used effectively to bring to book many child labour employers who are otherwise not covered by any other law and to give relief and rehabilitation benefits to a large number of children. Strategy for the elimination of child labour under the 10th Plan National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme was evaluated by independent agencies in coordination with V. V. Giri National Labour Institute in 2001. Based on the recommendations, the strategy for implementing the scheme during the 10th Plan was devised.
It aimed at greater convergence with the other developmental schemes and bringing qualitative changes in the Scheme. Some of the salient points of the 10th Plan Strategy are as follows: • Focused and reinforced action to eliminate child labour in the hazardous occupations by the end of the Plan period. • Expansion of National Child Labour Projects to additional 150 districts. • Ensuring Education of child labour under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan of Ministry of Human Resource Development and mainstreaming the older students to the formal education system through special schools functioning under the NCLP Scheme. Convergence with other Schemes of the Departments of Education, Rural Development, Health and Women and Child Development for the ultimate attainment of the objective in a time bound manner. The Government and the Ministry of Labour & Employment in particular, are rather serious in their efforts to fight Child Labour. The number of districts covered under the NCLP Scheme has been increased from 100 to 250. INDUS, another such Scheme for rehabilitation of child labour in cooperation with US Department of Labour covers another 21 districts.
Government is also providing funds directly to the NGOs under the Ministry’s Grants-in-aid Scheme for running Special Schools for rehabilitation of child labour, thereby providing for a greater role and cooperation of the civil society in combating this menace. The implementation of NCLP and INDUS Schemes is being closely monitored through periodical reports, frequent visits and meetings with the District and State Government officials. Elimination of child labour is the single largest programme in the Ministry of Labour activities.
Apart from a major increase in the number of districts covered under the scheme, the priority of the Government in this direction is evident in the quantum jump in budgetary allocation during the 10th Plan. Government has allocated Rs. 602 crores for the Scheme during the 10th Plan, as against an expenditure of Rs. 178 crores in the 9th Plan. The resources set aside for combating this evil in the Ministry of labour is around 50 per cent of its total annual budget. The latest act regarding Child Labour is –
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009: Provides for free and compulsory education to all children aged 6 to 14 years. This legislation also envisages that 25 per cent of seats in every private school should be allocated for children from disadvantaged groups including differently abled children. Apart from all this India is also a signatory to the: • ILO Forced Labour Convention (No. 29); • ILO Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No. 105); • UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Popular Cases related to Child Labour In 1993, the Supreme Court in Unnikrishnan v.
State of Andhra Pradesh ruled that each child has the right to free education until he or she completes the age of 14 years (Artcle 21-A). An important judicial intervention in the action against child labour in India was the M. C. Mehta case (1996) in which The Supreme Court, directed the Union and state governments to identify all children working in hazardous processes and occupations, to withdraw them from work, and to provide them with quality education. The Court also directed that a Child Labour Rehabilitation-cum-Welfare Fund be set up using contributions from employers who contravene the Child Labour Act.
In 2005, the M. V. Foundation, an NGO working on child rights brought a public interest litigation petition which argues that child labour up to the age of compulsory education is unconstitutional and is a negation of rights under Article 21-A which provides for compulsory education up to the age of 14. This case is still pending before the Supreme Court. Notably however, under this case the Court has asked the Government to file a status report on the implementation of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Suggestions to stop Child Labour The future of any society or community depends on the well-being of its children.
Wordsworth in his famous lines “child is father of the man” beautifully expressed the above fact. So it becomes very important for a nation to protect its children from premature labour which is hazardous to their mental, physical, educational and spiritual development needs. It is urgently required to save children from the murderous clutches of social injustice and educational deprivation, and ensure that they are given opportunities for healthy, normal and happy growth. The above message has been promoted by several organizations throughout the world.
The following are some general guidelines that could be followed to control child labour to some extent. • Top priority must be given to the project related to human resource development dedicated to the child welfare by the central and state governments. • Child labour laws should be strictly implemented at the central and state levels. • Any negligence and corruption regarding child labour offices and circles should be dealt very strictly by judiciary and police force. • India has implemented a country- wide ban recently, on children below fourteen working in the hospitality sector and as well as domestics, this has to be enforced properly. Heavy penalty has to be imposed on any businessmen who violate the law. • The provision of equal and proper opportunities for the educational needs of growing children in accordance with constitutional directives will go a long way in stopping the evil practice of child labour. • Widespread awareness generation to create a positive climate for children to go to school and not to work. • Effective utilization of print and electronic media can help in great deal to create awareness in the society. • Programmes are to be conducted on child rights. • Observance of a specific day as ‘Anti Child Labour Day’. June 12th is being observed as Anti Child Labour Day by ILO). Given that the progress made towards wiping out child labour is only marginal in spite of all that has been done so far, clearly only passing laws against child labour is not the way. We must also target the root cause of child labour, which is poverty and illiteracy. We must realize that in a country as large and as diverse as India, these evils are deep-rooted and cannot be taken care of overnight. However with the improvement of the economy, better income distributions, child labour will gradually decline.
Education also plays an important role in the eradication of child labour. We have attached a short video regarding stopping child labour. [pic] Success stories of Rescued Child Labourers Shiv, 16, is from Madhepura village in the state of Bihar in India. He has 3 brothers – 8-, 13- and 15-years-old – and 2 sisters, 18- and 20-years-old. Both Shiv’s mother and father work as agricultural labourers. His brothers and his sisters act as “supporting hands” to their mother when she works on the farms, even Shiv’s 8- and 13-years-old siblings.
None of them go to school as there is no school in that village, though there is one in a nearby village. The family uses the additional hands to bring in a little more money, since the family is so poor and no facility for education is available to them. When he was barely seven-years-old, Shiv was lured away from home by a man who had promised him chocolate. The man took him 600 kilometres away from his home to the Varanasi district in India, where he worked in a carpet factory for five years around the clock for no pay. He was abused and beaten by his employer. Have you ever realized that carpets are made by children like me? ” Shiv asked. Since he worked for no pay and was not allowed to leave the factory, Shiv was considered to be a bonded labourer. “The work was hard,” Shiv said. He worked 16 hours a day from 4:00 a. m. to 9:00 p. m. , seven days a week with an hour for lunch at 1 p. m. He used to get up at 4:00 a. m. and go to bed at 10:00 p. m. He did not go to school. Shiv lived, slept, and ate in the same room where he worked. He lived and worked with 18 other boys, between 7- and 16-years-old. Shiv was not given proper food.
The children go no breakfast. For lunch and dinner, they received “very badly cooked” rice and lentils. There was no time to play or have fun. Shiv was not allowed to go outside, even though it was very hot and dirty inside and there was no fan. Shiv was often sick and tired, but was never taken to the doctor. He was just given some pills and told to continue working. Often, he cut his fingers while weaving. When this happened the employer filled his cuts with the chemical from a matchstick and cauterized/burned the cuts on his fingers. He said it was very painful.
If Shiv ever said “no” to work, he was subjected to verbal and physical abuse. Shiv did not like his boss, who wanted the boys to work hard and produce more every day. “For this he used to beat us. His behaviour was very bad with us. He used to ill-treat us. He always used bad language with us. If there was any small mistake, or when we did not meet the deadline for completing the carpets, we were beaten very badly,” Shiv said. This happened “quite often, at the employer’s whim”. His boss never praised anyone. For five years Shiv worked without any time off. He never went home or saw anyone in his family.
He did not enjoy a single day of work. At that time he had no dreams. Shiv did not like his boss, who wanted the boys to work hard and produce more every day. “For this he used to beat us. His behaviour was very bad with us. He used to ill-treat us. He always used bad language with us. If there was any small mistake, or when we did not meet the deadline for completing the carpets, we were beaten very badly,” Shiv said. He used to ill-treat us. He always used bad language with us. If there was any small mistake, or when we did not meet the deadline for completing the carpets, we were beaten very badly,” Shiv said.
Since he stopped working, Shiv’s life has totally changed. When he went back to school he felt as if he had a new life. He said, “My life has taken a completely new turn. I feel free, free from any pressure. I have learned how to speak and read well. My conduct has improved. I feel now I am getting more respect in the society and, above all, I got to know about my rights. ” After spending some time at the Mukti Ashram, Shiv became a child activist. He has helped stop child labour by participating in awareness raising campaigns in villages and slums.
Shiv’s parents are also very happy that he is attending school. “They (my parents) say that I (Shiv) should study and take up some good job. Though they are working as labourers, the next generation should not work as labourers,” he said. Shiv was very happy to be in Florence at the Children’s World Congress on Child Labour, but he was also thinking of the children like him who were still working. Now he realizes that there are many boys and girls like him, who work in circuses and end up crippled for life, left on the streets, or sold as camel jockeys. My only ambition is that these children are liberated and have access to quality education, and people listen to them,” he said. Shiv wants to study and become either a “good school teacher” or a social worker. He also wants to continue working to end child labour and to ensure the rights of all children. He is very optimistic about accomplishing his aspirations. At a press conference during the Children’s World Congress on Child Labour in Florence, Shiv demanded: “Children should be removed from work. They should have a chance to play. Adults should work in place of children.
They should be given normal 8-hour a day work opportunities for fair wages, and have a chance to move around, meet their families, and provide good food so that their families can have a good life. It is important to listen to the voices of children. All children should have access to free compulsory primary education. The education should be quality to enable children to be productive citizens. The rich people send their children to rich schools, but for the poor children there is no quality education available. Access to quality education should be equal for both the rich and the poor.
Children should be educated about their rights along with their normal course of study. ” References • Wikipedia – http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Child_labour • UNICEF’s 1997 State of the World’s Children Report • US Dept. of Labour, By the Sweat & Toil of Children, Vo. V: Efforts to Eliminate Child Labour • Child Labour: Targeting the Intolerable (1998) and other ILO publications http://www. ilo. org. • http://www. childlabor. org • http://www. unicef. org • http://www. ngosindia. com/resources/child_labour. php • http://www. bukisa. com/articles/113972_-pros-and-cons-of-child-labor • http://www. thefirstpost. co. k/44345,news-comment,news-politics,pros-cons ———————– Legal Status of Child Labour in India A Comprehensive Report A detailed report on the definition of child labour, its causes, implications, prevalence as well as the international response being taken against it and our own suggestions to curb it. [pic] 2011 Submitted on: 08-08-2011 Section F Group 6 – B S Shashank PGP2011584 Anuj Thakur PGP2011559 Shaishav Solanki PGP2011867 Phanindra Kumar J PGP2011775 Mrinal Kumar PGP2011729 S Shruti PGP2011838 Avantika Garg PGP2011583