CHILD LABOR IN INDIA

Of 12.6 million children in hazardous occupations, India has the highest number of labourers in the world under 14 years of age. Although the Constitution of India guarantees free and compulsory education to children between the age of 6 to 14 and prohibits employment of children younger than 14 in any hazardous environment, child labour is present in almost all sectors of the Indian economy.

What is Child Labour Child labour is done by any working child who is under the age specifi d by law. The word, e ³work´ means full time commercial work to sustain self or add to the family income. Child labour is a hazard to a Child¶s mental, physical, social, educational, emotional and spiritual development. Broadly any child who is employed in activities to feed self and family is being subjected to ³child labour¶.

Child Labour Today Child labour is a very complicated development issue, effecting human society all over the world. It is a matter of grave concern that children are not receiving the education and leisure which is important for their growing years, because they are sucked into commercial and laborious activities which is meant for people beyond their years. According to the statistics given by ILO and other official agencies 73 million children between 10 to 14 years of age re employed in economic activities all over the world. The fi ure translates into g 13.2 of all children between 10 to 14 are being subjected to child labour. Child Labour in India Child labour in India is a human right issue for the whole world. It is a serious and extensive problem, with many children under the age of fourteen working in carpet making factories, glass blowing units and making fireworks with bare little hands. According to the statistics given by Indian government there are 20 million child labo urers in the country, while other agencies claim that it is 50 million.

Absence of compulsory education at the primary level. This is the case in most Asian and African countries.Causes of Child Labour Some common causes of child labour are poverty. The family practice to inculcate traditional skills in children also pulls little ones in the trap of child labour. Poverty and over population have been identified as the two main causes of child labor. parental ignorance regarding the bad effects of child labour. the ineffectiveness of child labour laws in terms of implementation. lack of education and exposure. . social apathy. exploitation of cheap and unorganized labour. shelter and clothing drives their children in the trap of premature labour. 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. Monetary constraints and the need for food. u Parents are forced to send little children into hazardous jobs for reasons of survival. It is also very difficult for immature minds and undeveloped bodies to understand and organize themselves against exploitation in the absence of adult guidance. non availability and non accessibility of schools. ignorance. as they never get the opportunity to learn anything else. boring and unpractical school curriculum and cheap child labour are some other factors which encourages the phenomenon of child labour. parental illiteracy. even when they know it is wrong.

Illit t iti i ti t t l t t l li t i t t t t t i t il ti il l i i lt t i t l t t i lt l li il t l il t i t lt l t i l lt t i i j l t t ti l l i i ti l it ti i il i l l l il i ti l l i it i i l i l El t l it i i lt t l it ti l i t t i i lt t i l ti il l ti i t lt t i i t i l S i t j ti i i ti t i i i t i lti ti l t l il t it l i l it t i ttit t i i t t i t i littl t i i t it t t l Chil L C il l il i il l i L w lit i it il l l l t i t i t t ti i t ti t t i l t i it i l l it t t i l t i ti il l ll t l it i t i l t tl l i i l t t l lti l l t l i i lt ti t il t it l i t l i t ll t t ti l ti i iti t i t it l t t il l i l il l l l t i US t q t ti t i t li i t it It i ti l i i i t i ti i iti i t t t i ti ti i l E t i l t i t ti l E l i l t i Indi n constit tion cat oricall stat s t at child labour is a wrong practice. The government and other agencies responsible for the enforcement of these laws are not doing their job. Moreover the policies which are set to reduce incidences of child labour are difficult to implement and enforce. and standards should be set by law to eli inate it The child labour act of 1986 i plemented by the government of India makes child labour illegal in many regions and sets the minimum age of employment at fourteen years. There are many loop holes in this law in terms of affectivity. . First is that it does not make child labour completely illegal and does not meet the guidelines set by ILO concerning the minimum age for employment. Without proper enforcement all policies and laws concerning child labour prove useless. which is fifteen years.

Kenya prohibits children under 16 from going to work in industries but excludes agriculture. Indeed laws become unpractical and redundant in the face of necessity. but excludes agriculture and domestic work. Chil L P lic i i There are specific clauses in the draft of Indian constitution dated 26th January 1950. Poor children and their family members depend so much on little ones to provide the basic necessities of life in the impoverished areas that it becomes impossible for them to adhere to any laws and regulations regarding child labour. For example in Nepal. . Child labour is still prevalent in India in various sectors of industries like: y y y y y Indian Silk Industry Sweet shops Beedi manufacture Diamond Industry Firework industry etc. We must also remember. They lay down four specific policy rules regarding child labour. The judicial machinery and courts are also found to be faltering and faulting where proper enforcement of such laws is concerned. but plantation of brick clines is exempted from this. Many state governments are feisty in allocating resources to enforce child labour laws. These are conveyed through different articles in the Fundamental rights and the Directive Principles of the State Policy. There are also many loop holes while setting laws and rules for child labour which allows exploitation. In some countries very strict child labour laws exist but the offices and departments responsible for implementing them are under-funded and under staffed. Bangladesh also specifies a minimum age to go to work. the minimum age for a person to go for work is 14 years. about the child labour policy in India. that about one fifth of the world¶s six billion humans live in absolute poverty.Moreover certain sectors like agriculture and domestic work are not included in the exemption of child labour.

We hereby conclude that Periyar is much more industry oriented than that of Jhabua. Also we can see that rural literacy rate is higher in Peiyar than in Jhabua. we observe that Jhabua has higher incidence of child labour and workers in agriculture as compared to Periyar. By this it can be concluded that child labour is still prevalent in several parts of India. which uses more of child labour in agriculture. spread over banks.Stati tical Anal i Chart Title 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 Rural Development Index % workers in agriculture % Total Rural literacy rate Incidence (%) of child labour Observation: If we compare Jhabua (Madhya Pradesh) with Periyar (Tamil Nadu). After the death of her father she was sent to this place to work as a maid by her mother. Refer article from The NY Times enclosed at the end of this report. Research in Kolkata: Article published in The New York Times According to the article published in The NY Times. She has a hope of becoming a teacher one day. literacy etc. She is a victim of poverty. is much higher in Periyar than in Jhabua. Rural Development Index which depends on various factors like importance of industry. . describes the life of an 8 year old Jasmina in one of the Kolkata districts. Here she is treated miserably for not performing any task quickly.

Bonded Child Labour in India The most inhuman and onerous form of child exploitation is the age old practice of bonded labour in India. and they have to simply toil hard and depend on the mercy of their owners. Governments did take few directions on the right track initially. Here the bonded child is allowed to reside with his parents. but most of their efforts came to naught with time. claiming the problem is being solved. So it becomes imperative for the . u instead of punishing erring employers and freeing and rehabilitating the bonded children. the child is sold to the loaner like a commodity for a certain period of time.´ Stop Child Labour The future of a community is in the well being of its children. The practice of child bonded labour persists like a scourge to humanity in spite of many laws against it. Moreover the government efforts did not reach high profile industries like beedi. The practice of bonded child labo is prevalent in many parts of rural India. The above fact is beautifully expressed by Wordsworth in his famous lines ³child is father of the man´. These laws although stringent and providing for imprisonment and imposition of huge fines on those who are found guilty are literally functional in terms of non implementation. money lender or a big business man who thrives on their vulnerability to such exploitation.m. if he presents himself for work at 8 a. uneducated landless labourer and the mortgagee is traditionally some big landlord. but is very ur conspicuously in the Vellore district of Tamil Nadu. every day. cigarette making and carpet weaving. Sometimes their period of thrall extends for a life time. The children who are sold as bonded labo only get a handful of coarse grain to keep them ur alive in return for their labour. the Indian government is starting to backtrack. However most of their efforts were sabotaged by high level government officials covering the fact that children were doing bonded work in factory promises. without any hope of release or redemption. The impoverished parents of the bonded child is usually a poor. They deliberately employed their energy in running public awareness campaigns and made claims of creating propaganda against child labo r. According to Cousen Neff an official of the Human Rights watch ± ³Instead of living up to its promises. His labour is treated like security or collateral security and cunning rich men procure them for small sums at exorbitant interest rates. Our research shows that it is not. In this.

"They want the shoes polished. her eyes cast down. children's rights advocates say. "I get tired and forget things.25. India has no outright ban on child labor. so they hit me. Parents are. is a simple matter. selling their children. Impoverished villagers willingly turn their children over to middlemen who promise a better life in the cities. Last October it expanded the law to prohibit the employment of children in hotels and restaurants and as domestic servants. physical. If I don't get the water fast enough I get a beating." said Surina Rajan of the International Labor Organization." . her mother sent her and her sister from their West Bengal village to work as maids here. They want to go to the toilet. normal and happy growth. It is an extremely lucrative business. "This is a slave trade.health of a nation to protect its children from premature labour which is hazardous to their mental. educational and spiritual development needs. directly or indirectly." said Manabendra Nath Ray of Save the Children UK. She washes. the law has had little effect: Young children are in as great a demand as ever as maids and nannies. when she lies down to sleep on the floor by the bathroom door. After her father died. she is paid 100 rupees." Jasmina said. 8-year-old Jasmina Khatoom rises before dawn to fetch water for the household where she works as a maid." Hiring an obedient 8-year-old. sweeps and hauls until about 11 at night. India ² Seven days a week. "Placement agencies in Delhi and Mumbai are growing like mushrooms. "So families are looking for a cheaper option. If I don't do it fast enough they hit me with a cooking spoon. at a time when it's becoming more expensive to employ people. and had long allowed the employment of children under 14 in all but what are deemed "hazardous" occupations. and ensure that they are given opportunities for healthy. we've seen a rise in demand for domestic help. "Because of the booming economy and the spread of the nuclear family. or $2. fresh from India's rural heartland. Each month. It is urgently required to save children from the murderous clutches of social injustice and educational deprivation. Her employers have little patience for her exhaustion. Five months later." Jasmina has been a member of India's child labor force for more than a year now. The New York Times Article: CALCUTTA.

They list the advantages of sending a child into service: The child. say. the permanently unemployed and the chronic alcoholics. middlemen and placement agencies in the cities. which will enhance her marriage prospects. "We are disappointed. home to 300 families. a dozen local teachers. They have urged increasing educational and job opportunities in the struggling countryside of West Bengal and the neighboring states of Bihar and Jharkhand. Officials with the Ministry of Labor and Employment said it would take time before the law's effects were evident." Ray said. recently widowed fathers. "You can't just start raiding people's private homes. are usually local women whose extensive personal contacts in the region help them identify vulnerable targets: families with six or more children. Given the opaque nature of the trade. learn city ways. Children's rights activists fault the government for not cracking down hard enough on the recruiters of children or taking measures that would make it easier on families to keep their children at home. Charts on the walls showed how nearby villages had been stripped of children: In Sankda. Save the Children has set up several "anti-trafficking committees" in West Bengal in hopes of disrupting the supply network through grass-roots action. 70 children had been sent away to work. they said. The recruitment agents who comb through the villages. a hamlet of mud huts two hours' drive southwest of Calcutta. barring recruiters and urging the police to enforce the law." he said. single mothers. parents and village officials described a threetier system. 105 had left." Meanwhile. including educating parents about the risks to their children. the source of most of the children in domestic service. said that dealing with underaged domestic servants was more problematic than. made up of local child recruiters. " You have to tread carefully. and send back monthly earnings. will do a bit of light housework. children's advocates say the figure could be closer to 60 million. they promise. Shahid Meezan. it is unclear how many of these children are working as maids.The Indian government estimates that about 12 million children under 14 are employed. . in Ajgara. At the weekly meeting of a committee in Rajbati. with 150 families. director of the ministry's child labor division. with underaged factory workers.

threatened her with arrest. "This is typically a middle-class issue. The really nice-looking girls get diverted into prostitution. "The rate varies depending on the quality of the child. the government's enforcement focus has been on the employers rather than the suppliers. which means a higher fee for the agent. "I thought it would be a good opportunity for her. "Is she good-looking? Does she have some basic education? Can she communicate well? They are treated as commodities. a Rajbati resident who sent her teenage daughter Soma to Calcutta to work in a lawyer's house." said Ray of Save the Children. a local housewife who used to scour the local villages for candidates. as well as a percentage of the child's monthly wages. "It is important to reach out to the newspaper-reading middle classes to make sure that they know that this is not innocuous." said Sudha Pillai. Despite reports of abuse of children by employers and the failure of agents to send back the children's wages. What was there for her to do here?" she asked. So far. "I felt I was doing something good for the families. "It's one less mouth to feed.Often recruiters are met with gratitude. Karuna Mondal. Even if the child ends up not sending back any money." "A lot of euphemisms are used. a bare thatched shack without running water or electricity." she said in an interview. parents remain susceptible to the agents' key argument that sending the child away to work will guarantee them a better life than staying in the village. said Asha Iyer of Save the Children." she said. the most senior bureaucrat in the Ministry of Labor and Employment. under pressure from the activists. said it had not been a difficult decision.' We have to repeat the message that this is a crime.000 and 10." She stopped work last year after the police. "These girls are known as 'playmates' for babies and 'household helps. She had dropped out of school. looking around at the family home." . earning between 3.000 rupees per child. "No one has shunned me for the work I did." Hemlata Mondal. said she got into the business when she realized how lucrative gathering children could be. the family can be better off." The recruiter also stands to profit.

she said: "It's easy to order them around. I'm not doing anything criminal. a charity based in Calcutta that combats children's domestic work." he said. He said many employers were still unaware of the law. or felt that it did not apply to them." As to why children make such good servants. she said she dreams of another life." ." she said with a crooked smile. Interviewed during a rare free afternoon. said the government was still not doing enough to get that message across." Jasmina Khatoom knows nothing of the legislation that has made her job illegal and sees little prospect of respite from her drudgery. "I'm a good employer. "I know about the legislation. swinging her spindly legs. "I'd like to be at school. "I want to be a teacher.Mohammad Ashraf Ali of Right Track. granted under pressure from Right Track. a Calcutta housewife who has employed a number of young girls in her home but now participates in a program sponsored by Save the Children to encourage good practice among employers of child workers. If they make a mistake. you can twist their ears." she said. "But the maids are usually badly dressed and hungry. but it doesn't apply to me." Those notions were reinforced by the attitude of Barnali Bose. "Most argue that they are doing something noble by helping feed and clothe poor village children.

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