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Let’s Stop Child Labour.

A newspaper report the other day mentioned that the Child Labour Act 1986 is only
partly effective. The Act does not prohibit employment of children below the age of 14 in
several hazardous industries that exist in the unorganised sector. At present, the Act bans the
employment of children in only 25 present, the Act bans the employment of children in only
25 hazardous processes and occupations. It is estimated that there are around 44 millions
child workers in India of whom nearly 85 percent are involved in agricultural work. The
hazardous occupation listed in the act include beedi – making, carpet weaving, tanning,
construction work, and manufacturing of match sticks, firecrackers and state pencils.
But there are several other unknown, small industries which are hazardous but whose
existence is unknown to the public. The artificial pearl – dyeing industry in Bhiwandi is one
such unit. Around 300 small workshops, each employing around 20 children and women have
sprung up in several slum localities. The children work for nine hours a day in a small room
filled with fumes of toxic chemical. Their daily wages is Rs.15/- The fumes of dyes and toxic
chemicals is so strong that a 10 minute visit to any of these units leaves one coughing and
Let’s stop this child labour. Many social workers sincerely feel that if the Government
enforces free and compulsory education, this exploitation of children will stop. But while the
Government must take this step, we also can assist them. Let us report cases of child
exploitation wherever we see them. Alternatively let us promise that we will not employ child
labour in our factories and will persuade our friends and relatives, also to refrain from doing
so. Let us make a conscious pledge to allow each child to enjoy their childhood in school and
leisure activities only.