According to the National Census 2011, there are almost 33 million children in India working as children between 6 and 18? Additionally, 12.9 million children between the ages of 7 and 17 are still working, according to the International Labour Organization. Almost every main road, market, Bazaar, mall, and even chocks are filled with children, both girls, and boys, aged 4-14, begging in various ways; some are selling stationery items, while others are selling masks and books. Additionally, children between the ages of 3 and 6 stand at each stop sign holding bottles of soapy water and a brush to clean the windows of the cars. Children's rights are gravely violated when laws are not properly enforced, but this practice persists unchecked throughout India. In India, however, many rules prohibit children's use as laborers. In this essay, the causes of child labor and the numerous laws that forbid it will both be covered.
What is child labor?
The International Labor Organization (ILO) states that child labor is "work that robs children of their youth, their potential, and their dignity and is detrimental to their physical and mental development." It refers to labor hazardous to children's mental, physical, social, or moral well-being that interferes with their education.
A person is considered a "child" under Indian law if they are under the age of 14 and considered an "adolescent" between the ages of 14 and 18. This law divides work into two categories: hazardous and non-hazardous, as defined by the Technical Advisory Committee created by the Act. The Schedule to the Act lists 69 non-hazardous jobs and practices and 38 "hazardous" ones.
In simple words, child labor is a critical issue in which underage children are pushed to work in restaurants, hotels, workshops, auto shops, factories, and even shops, either by their families or owing to their economic situations.
Causes of Child labor in India
The majority of developing nations are affected by the issue of child labor. One may extrapolate from this that there is one thing that all emerging countries have in common: poverty. In India, child labor is often a result of poverty. Some of the main factors that contribute to child labor in India include the following:
Poverty:India has a vast population and few opportunities, which forces many families to live in poverty. Some families struggle to make ends meet despite government support provided through various programs. Many families go for days without food. The family's youngsters are forced to leave the house under such dire circumstances and work menial jobs for pitiful wages.
Limited reach to education:There are fewer government-funded educational institutions in the poorer sections of the country. Many schools are unable to accommodate all the students from the area. Many children are unable to attend school as a result. Sometimes there aren't any schools nearby for kids because of how far away their homes are. Even though they are under 18, these illiterate kids have jobs.
Lack of legal enforcement:India has a serious problem enforcing laws forbidding child labor. Police regularly pass over factories that employ a lot of children due to political pressure or bribery. These factories compel kids to work nonstop, seven days a week, for pitiful pay.
Debt:Disadvantaged households already have low incomes. But things get even more depressing when they owe a lot of money. They lack a reliable source of income; hence, they cannot pay their bills. Thus, to assist them in paying off their debts, parents are compelled to pull their kids out of school and make them work.
What impact does child work have on the country?
Children who work as children are deprived of a happy childhood and enjoyable learning experiences while they are still developing. As a result, most child laborers give up on their academic aspirations and opt for literacy. After finishing school, they get engrossed in their line of work to the extent that they cannot pursue the new training and credentials required for lucrative employment.
India is consequently losing access to an educated and skilled workforce, which is essential to propel our nation's economic growth and prosperity to new heights. Due to their dangerous employment, many youngsters miss out on a childhood and an education and suffer from numerous health issues. This socially unacceptable behavior harms the socioeconomic standing of our nation.
Child Labour Prohibition in India's Legislation
Considering its obligations to the international community and the pervasive mistreatment of children in India, the Indian government has introduced several rules to prevent and make child labor illegal. Here are a few illustrations:
The Factories Act, passed in 1948, is the main statute governing factories in India. According to Section 67 of the Act, a kid under 14 cannot be allowed to work in any industry in India. The Act also specifies the requirements and criteria that must be included before a child over 14 is permitted to work in a factory. Working hour restrictions and the production of a certificate of fitness is among the requirements.
The Mines Act, passed in 1952, is the primary legislation covering mining and related activities. Section 40 of the Act specifies an explanation of child labor. According to Section 40, mines in India cannot hire anyone under 18. The rule has been modified to allow trainees under 16 to work solely under professional supervision.
Minors under 14 were not allowed to work in several occupations under the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986. The Act also regulates the working conditions in places where kids are allowed to work.
According to Section 79 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015, holding a child in servitude is forbidden and illegal to force them to work. Anyone who exhibits this behavior faces prison time.
How can you play a role in stopping child labor?
Both the government and we as citizens are accountable for it. Although it is not acting honestly, the government is doing its part. They stop these actions in certain places but fail to fulfill their jobs effectively elsewhere. As citizens, there are a few things we can do.
We must refuse to pay these kids in any capacity, whether as beggars, merchants, or washers, and we must refuse to give them or their companions any rupees. We must put an end to it. But regrettably, their companions—possibly even their parents—think abusing young kids is an easy way to get rich.
Such businesses and beggars must be reported to the police station. Additionally, filing a complaint on the Citizen Portal is a straightforward procedure. Everyone has a smartphone, so you can snap a picture or a video of them and send it to Citizen Portal with the route, town, and Union Council mentioned specifically so that the appropriate authority can be held accountable for their behavior.
The father of such a child deserves to be punished, and their license should be canceled or permanently revoked in the case of a business. Such incidents must be reported, and the government must ensure that those responsible fully understand their mistakes so they won't consider repeating them.
Child labor has been accepted in our society as a social norm. We can only stop this exploitative and harmful activity when we as a society adopt a zero-tolerance stance toward it.
Learning that child exploitation through labor and employment is pervasive in India today is disheartening. There are adequate regulations to ensure proper reparation, but there hasn't been any sign that things are getting any better. A combination of official action and public participation would be necessary to eliminate this threat from India. We must all cooperate. We have to do something. Wherever it occurs, child labor must be eradicated. We must provide them with food and education to prevent them from needing to work. Those who force homeless children to work must be stopped.
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