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CAUSES OF CHILD LABOUR

Absence of compulsory education at the primary level, parental ignorance regarding the bad effects of
child labor, the ineffictivity of child labor laws in terms of implementation, non availability and non
accessibility of schools, boring and unpractical school curriculum and cheap child labor are some other
factors which encourages the phenomenon of child labor. It is also very difficult for immature minds
and undeveloped bodies to understand and organize them selves against exploitation in the absence
of adult guidance. Poverty and over population have been identified as the two main causes of child
labor. Parents are forced to send little children into hazardous jobs for reasons of survival, even when
they know it is wrong. Monetary constraints and the need for food, shelter and clothing drives their
children in the trap of premature labor. Over population in some regions creates paucity of resources.
When there are limited means and more mouths to feed children are driven to commercial activities
and not provided for their development needs. This is the case in most Asian and African countries.
Illiterate and ignorant parents do not understand the need for wholesome proper physical, cognitive
and emotional development of their child. They are themselves uneducated and unexposed, so they
don’t realize the importance of education for their children. Adult unemployment and urbanization
also causes child labor. Adults often find it difficult to find jobs because factory owners
find it more beneficial to employ children at cheap rates. This exploitation is particularly
visible in garment factories of urban areas. Adult exploitation of children is also seen in
many places. Elders relax at home and live on the labor of poor helpless children.

The industrial revolution has also had a negative effect by giving rise to circumstances
which encourages child labor. 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, forcing them to drive their little ones
to work to keep the fire burning their homes

CHILD LABOUR LAWS

They are as following:- 1) ( Article 14) 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.

2) Article 39-E) 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 there are
and strength.

3) ( Article 39-f ) 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.

4) (Article 45 ) The state shall endeavor to provide within a period of ten years from the
commencement of the constitution for free and compulsory education for all children until
they complete the age of fourteen years. It was also decided that both the Union government and
the State government could legislate on matters concerning child labor. Various legislative initiatives
were also taken in this regard at both the State and Union level.
The main legislative measures at the national level are The Child Labor Prohibition and Regulation Act
-1986 and The Factories Act -1948. The first act was categorical in prohibiting the employment of
children below fourteen years of age, and identified 57 processes and 13 occupations which were
considered dangerous to the health and lives of children. The details of these occupations and
processes are listed in the schedule to the said Act.

The factories act again prohibits the employment of children less than fourteen years of age. However
an adolescent aged between 15 and 18 can be recruited for factory employment only after securing a
fitness certificate from a medical doctor who is authorized. The Act proceeds to prescribe only four and
and hour’s work period per day for children between 14 and 18 years. Children are also not allowed to
work in night shifts.

BONDED CHILD LABOUR

The children who are sold as bonded labor only get a handful of coarse grain to keep them alive in
return for their labor. Sometimes their period of thrall extends for a life time, and they have to simply
toil hard and depend on the mercy of their owners, without any hope of release or redemption. The
impoverished parents of the bonded child is usually a poor, uneducated landless laborer and the
mortgagee is traditionally some big landlord, money lender or a big business man who thrives on their
vulnerability to such exploitation. The practice of bonded child labor is prevalent in many parts
of rural India, but is very conspicuously in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. Here the
bonded child is allowed to reside with his parents, if he presents himself for work at 8 a.m.
every day. The practice of child bonded labor persists like a scourge to humanity in spite of
many laws against it. These laws although stringent and providing for imprisonment and
imposition of huge fines on those who are found guilty are literally non- functional in terms
of implementation.

However most of their efforts were sabotaged by high level government officials covering the fact that
children were doing bonded work in factory promises. They deliberately employed their energy in
running public awareness campaigns and made claims of creating propaganda against child labor,
instead of punishing erring employers and freeing and rehabilitating the bonded children.

Governments did take few directions on the right track initially, but most of their efforts
came to naught with time. Moreover the government efforts did not reach high profile
industries like bidi, cigarette making and carpet weaving. According to Cousen Neff - an
official of the Human Rights watch – “Instead of living up to its promises, the Indian
government is starting to backtrack, claiming the problem is being solved. Our research
shows that it is not.”

Neff also identified a major link between caste and bondage in Indian society. Dalit
family’s functions as bonded labor due to caste based discrimination and violence and not
poverty in many cases. The caste system in India is one of the main foundations on which
the edifice of bonded labor rests. Dalits or the so called untouchable are denied access to
land in India, forced to work in inhuman conditions, and expected to perform labor for free.
This is due to the so called upper castes boycotting them socially and subjecting them to
economic exploitation. This attitude of society keeps the poor families bonded in a scourge
of perpetual poverty and labor. It is now very important for all International donors to put
pressure on the Indian government to enforce bonded labor and child labor laws in the
country. To find more child labor websites visit : ngo in india