Child labor has been considered to be one of the major concerns in the world because it affects the children’s both mentally and physically and it also destroys the future of children. Child labor is one the serious issue which is not only seen in India but also in other developing countries. It is widely prevalent in developing countries because the main problem of child labor in India is poverty .it is a great social problem because children are the hope and future of a nation. There were many laws enacted to prohibit child labor but they are ineffective. It also affects the overall health of a child, as children get exhausted easily and are not physically fit to work for longer durations under difficult conditions According to 2017 statics India is one of the leading countries in Asia which has an over 33 million of employed child labor in various forms of employment sectors.
“Child” as defined by the child labor (prohibition and regulation) Act 1986 is a person who has not completed the age of 14 years. Every child is being considered as a gift of god, we must have to be nurtured with care and affection within the family and society. But unfortunately due to this socio economic problems children were forced to work in the industries, leather factories, hotels and other places for food, clothing and shelter. The child labor is not a single phenomenon it is coupled with socio economic problem of the society so in order to eliminate child labor first we should focus on its issues and then have to bring certain effective measures to eliminate child labor in India.
Causes of Child Labor:
Poverty is one of the main causes of child labor in India. In developing countries poverty is one of the major drawbacks and the children were considered to be the helping hands to feed their families, to support their families and also to themselves .Due to poverty, illiteracy and unemployment parents are unable to send their children to schools. The children were asked to help their parents in running a family so they send their children for work at minimum lower wages.
The poor economic conditions of people in India force them to borrow money from lenders. The illiterate people seek debt from money lenders in emergency situation. But after some point of time they find difficulties in paying back the debts and interest, as a result of it the debtors were make them to work for money lenders and then debtors drag their children too in assisting them so that the debts could be paid off by them.
- Professional Needs:
There are some industries such as the bangle making industry, where delicate hands and little fingers are needed to do very minute creative work with extreme excellence and precision. Adult’s hands are usually not so delicate and small for such that work, so they require the children to work and do such a dangerous work with glass for them. This often resulted in accidents of the children and also weakened their eyesight.
Rights of Children in India:
India has also taken effective measure at the national level. India has brought constitutional, statutory development measures to eliminate child labor in India. The Indian constitution has consciously incorporated certain provisions to secure compulsory elementary education as well as protection of child labor. The constitution of India also provides certain rights to children and prohibits child labor such provisions are as follows:
- No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous work.
2.states shall direct its policy towards securing that the health and strength of workers, men and women and the tender age of the children are not abused and that citizen are not forced by economic necessity to enter vocations unsuited to their age or strength.
- Children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and the dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitations and against moral and material abandon.
- The state shall endeavor to provide free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14 years.
- The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of 6 to 14 years as such a manner as the state may by law determine.
- The parent or guardian were provided with the opportunities to educate his child or the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years.
Current Scenario of Child Labor:
- India is one of the leading countries in Asia has a 33 million children employed in various forms of child labour .It is shocking that world’s largest democracy is yet to ratify the Minimum age convention 1973 (No 138) of the International labor organization (ILO) that lays down ground rules for employment of minors across the globe.
- world day against child labor on June 12, ILO sanctioned holiday first launched in 2002 with their objective to raise awareness and activism to prevent child labor under the above convention .An estimated over 150 million children are involved in child labor worldwide as per UNICEF data.
- According to a Livemint report ,the government in the last year amended child labor laws to allow children below 14 years to not to work in family businesses and the entertainment industry (excluding circuses ) in order to create” a balance between the need for education for a child and reality of the socio economic condition and social fabric of the country”.
Constitutional Provisions Regarding Child Labor
Several articles of Indian Constitution provide protection and provisions for child labor.
Article 15 (3)
The State is empowered to make the special provisions relating to child, which will not be violative of right to equality.
No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty, except according to procedure established by law. The Supreme Court held that „life‟ includes free from exploitation and to live a dignified life.
Article 21A (Right to Education)
The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years, in such manner as the State may, by law, determine. Where children are allowed to work, in such establishment, it is the duty of employer to make provisions for the education of child laborer.
Traffic in human beings and beggar and other similar forms of forced labor are prohibited and any contravention of this prohibition shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.
Article 24 (Prohibition of Employment of Children in Factories, etc.)
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. The Supreme Court held that “hazardous employment” includes construction work, match boxes and fireworks therefore; no child below the age of 14 years can be employed. Positive steps should be taken for the welfare of such children as well as for improving the quality of their life.
Article 39 (e)
The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing the health and strength of the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength.
Article 39 (f)
The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity; and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.
The State shall endeavor to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.
Article 51A (e)
It shall be the duty of every citizen of India, who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or ward as the case may be, between the age of six and fourteen years.
The remedy is only in the hands of the government that they should take necessary steps to eradicate poverty through employment given to the parents of the child labor in India .Necessary practical steps should be taken to educate the children below age of 6 to 14 years. The government should also allocate the necessary funds to educate and nurture the poor children. Those who violate the child labor laws should be punished accordingly.
There are many laws and regulatory departments for child labor, yet it is ineffective for helping poor children for controlling ongoing child labor in India. This is possible only when there is a cooperation of all the sections of the society and the law enforcement agencies for removing or minimizing the causes of child labor in India. The most focus should be to educate the children in any circumstances so that child labor should be reduced in the country.