The position of India in terms of child labor is not an appreciable one; with a credible estimates ranging from 60 to 115 million, India has the largest number of working children in the world. Whether they are sweating in the heat of stone quarries, working in the fields 16 hours a day, picking rags in the city streets, or hidden away as domestic servants, these children endure miserable and difficult lives. They earn little and are made to work more. They struggle to make enough to eat and perhaps to help feed their families as well.
They do not go to school. Many of them have been working since the age of four or five, and by the time they attain adulthood they may be irrevocably sick and deformed they will certainly be exhausted, and in this way they are debarred from enjoying the basic human rights, which are essential for the advancement of one’s personality. According to the statistics given by Indian government there are 20 million child laborers in the country, while other agencies claim that it is 50 million.
Child labor is a conspicuous problem in India. Its prevalence is evident in the child work participation rate, which is more than that of other developing countries. Poverty is the reason for child labor in India. The meager income of child laborers is also absorbed by their families. The paucity of organized banking in the rural areas creates a void in taking facilities, forcing poor families to push their children in harsh labor, the harshest being bonded labor.
That declaration stated that all ILO members have an obligation “to respect, to promote and to realize in good faith” a set of fundamental rights which include freedom of association the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor the effective abolition of child labor and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. Rights of Children under National Laws India has all along followed a proactive policy in the matter of tackling the problem of child labor.
India has always stood for constitutional, statutory and development measures required eliminating child labor. The Indian Constitution has consciously incorporated provisions to secure compulsory universal elementary education as well as labor protection for children. Labor Commissions in India have gone into the problems of child labor and have made extensive recommendations. The Constitution of India too provides certain rights to children and prohibits child labor. Such provisions are as follows: 1.
No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous work. 2. State, in particular, 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 citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter vocations unsuited to their age or strength. 3. 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 exploitations and against moral and material abandon. . The state shall endeavor to provide, within the period of 10 years from the commencement of the Constitution, free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14 years. 5. The state shall provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of six to 14 years in such a manner as the state may by law determine. 6. Who is parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or the case may be, ward between the ages of 6 and14years.
In 1979, Government formed the first committee called Gurupadswamy Committee to study the issue of child labor and to suggest measures to tackle it. The Committee examined the problem in detail and made some far-reaching recommendations. It observed that as long as poverty continued, it would be difficult to totally eliminate child labor and hence, any attempt to abolish it through legal recourse would not be a practical proposition. The Committee felt that in the circumstances, the only alternative left was to ban child labor in hazardous areas and to regulate and ameliorate the conditions of work in other areas.
It recommended that a multiple policy approach was required in dealing with the problems of working children. Based on the recommendations of Gurupadaswamy Committee, The Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 was passed. This Act prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 in factories, mines and in other forms of hazardous employment, and regulates the working conditions of children in other employment. Sec. 3 of this Act imposes prohibition on employment of children in dhabas, restaurants, hotels, motels, tea shops, resorts, spas or other ecreational centre’s etc. Recently child labor is totally banned by the government with free education and other facilities to the child upto the age of 14. The list of hazardous occupations and processes is progressively being expanded on the recommendation of Child Labor Technical Advisory Committee constituted under the Act. The Union Cabinet recently approved a proposal for amending the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 under Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) (A) Bill, 2012 to ban employment of children aged up to 14 in any form of industry.
The state of Rajasthan and Delhi has increased age limit of child labor to 18 years. Role of Judiciary Indian higher judiciary has played good role in protecting rights of children and specifically in the case of child labor. The Supreme Court of India, in its M. C. Mehta Vs State of Tamil Naidu has given certain directions regarding the manner in which children working in the hazardous occupations are to be withdrawn from work and rehabilitated, and the manner in which the working conditions of children working in non-hazardous occupations are to be regulated and improved.
Withdrawal of children working in hazardous industries and ensuring their education in appropriate institutions; Contribution of Rs. 20,000 per child to be paid by the offending employers of children to a welfare fund to be established for this purpose; Employment to one adult member of the family of the child so withdrawn from work, and if that is not possible a contribution of Rs. 5000 to the welfare fund to be made by the State Government; Financial assistance to the families of the children so withdrawn to be paid out of the interest earnings on the corpus of Rs. 0,,000/25,000. 00 deposited in the welfare fund as long as the child is actually sent to the schools; Regulating hours of work for children working in non-hazardous occupations so that their working hours do not exceed six hours per day and education for at least two hours is ensured. The entire expenditure on education is to be borne by the concerned employer; as a follow up of the directions of the Supreme Court, all the State Governments were sent detailed guidelines on December 26, 1996 indicating the manner in which the directions of the Supreme Court were to be implemented.
What needs to be done? Given the magnitude and complexity of the problem and the relative ineffectiveness of the government, many non-government organizations and collaborative efforts by the government and non-government agencies are becoming more prevalent in recent years. There is a need to formulate a holistic, multi-pronged and concerted effort to tackle this problem 1. Poverty Eradication Programmes: The combination of poverty and the lack of a social security network form the basis of the even harsher type of child labor.
For the poor, there are few sources of bank loans, governmental loans or other credit sources, and even if there are sources available, few Indians living in poverty qualify. Here enters the local moneylender, for an average of two thousand rupees, parents exchange their child’s labor to local money lenders. Since the earnings of bonded child laborers are less than the interest on the loans, these bonded children are forced to work. The attitudes of parents also contribute to child labor.
Some parents feel that children should work in order to develop skills useful in the job market, instead of taking advantage of a formal education. This abhorred practice is accepted as being necessary for poor families to earn an income. Thus, an extensive reform process is necessary to eliminate the proliferation of child labor in India which strives to end the desperate poverty in the nation. Changing the structure of the workforce and hiring the high number of currently unemployed adults in greatly improved work conditions is only the first step in this lengthy process.
Introduction of micro finance is a right step in this direction. The NREGA heralds a promising era in poverty alleviation. 2. Campaign for strict implementation of Legislations: NGOs and voluntary organizations can do an intensive campaign to spread across the civil society organizations through networking to draw the attention of the policy makers, implementators and the community 3. Budget Advocacy: The organizations need to take up the issue of budget analysis and budget allocation for the implementation of the policies.
Most of the time the policies are formulated without proper budget allocation which affect the process of implementation 4. Community Action towards Child Education: There is need to bring about wide spread public awareness towards initiating community action in promoting school enrolment. Education helps a child to develop cognitively, emotionally and socially, and needless to say, education is often gravely reduced by child labor. We need to create a conducive climate in which community people at large would not tolerate the child labor in any form any more. STAKEHOLDERS INVOLVED
P. R. I. D. E India in child care and overall development Early Childhood Care & Development (ECCD) ECCD is a ‘Multi-sector’ approach that focuses on the early years in a child’s life (below 6 years) and lays the foundation for learning and achieving in school. The goal of ECCD is to ensure that children reach school age healthy and well nourished, intellectually curious, socially confident and equipped with a solid foundation for lifelong learning. The ECCD sector’s work is implemented as part of Home Based Intervention, Centre based Intervention and Child Development Scale (CDS).
CDS was developed by ChildFund. Till date, PRIDE has provided pre-school education to 25810 children and has trained 4235 caregivers in administering quality ECCD. The overall goal of project’s ECCD programs is enhancing the family and community or neighborhood environment in which young children develop; this is necessary to reduce the vulnerability of young children, especially those living in deprivation, and improving the care and developmental support that they receive.
This can be best accomplished by preventing problems and enhancing children’s resilience as well as the acquisition of skills through responsive care-giving, setting developmentally appropriate expectations, and providing stimulation to help them achieve their potential in all areas of development. Last year, 41 ECCD centre have been handed over by P. R. I. D. E India to the Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Maharashtra as part of mainstreaming the program. During the year 40 Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) workers and 20 Accredited
Social Health Activist and Auxiliary Nurses were capacitated on safe motherhood and child health. Apart from this, medical assistance was provided to 239 under-nourished children. Also 1458 children under 6 years of age were de-wormed with support from Primary Health Centre (PHC) and Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). 185 caregivers and family members were provided awareness and education on HIV/AIDS. P. R. I. D. E. INDIA shared its experience on CDS at the Global Operations Leadership Meeting held at ChildFund India’s National Office Bangalore. Child Protection & Participation
Though children and youth form the majority of the population in the communities in which they live, they have traditionally been excluded from decision-making. In the Project’s strategy, the role of children and youth is focused more intensively and they are being looked upon as change agents, who are active contributors to the well being and development of the family as well as the community. The Project implements programs in a way that increases the role of children, youth and parents by ensuring that they are the primary protagonists in program implementation. •P. R. I. D. E.
India is now a part of CHILDLINE India Network. As a Sub-Centre organization at Raigad, Maharashtra P. R. I. D. E. India executes Child Line projects under Integrated Child Protection Scheme, a project of the Ministry of Women and Child Development in partnership with State Government, NGOs and the Corporate Sector. •Ensured Child Rights, Protection & Participation by empowering children and youth through 8 Child Resource Centre, 46 Children Clubs and 37 Child Well Being Committees. •This year, capacity of 113 Children Club members was built, focusing on leadership skill enhancement and active functioning of the Children Clubs. 220 youth participated in the sanitation campaign during Sant Gadge Baba Swachata Abhiyan. •397 children and stakeholders including 176 parents, 70 Panchayat Raj Members, 190 Self Help Group (SHG) members and 30 Parent Teacher Association members were trained on child protection and legal provisions related to child rights. P. R. I. D. E. has initiated a children’s club in all its villages, to strengthen the activities of child protection and increase child participation. PRIDE conducts regular trainings of stakeholders on child protection guidelines and the violation of child rights.
P. R. I. D. E. has also succeeded in creating children and youth federations at various levels and ensuring their representation in the decision making process in all its community development programs. Though children have traditionally been excluded from decision-making, in their strategy the role of children and youth is focused on more intensively and they are being looked upon as change agents, who are active contributors to the well being and development of the family as well as the community. References- ttp://www. prideindia. org/child-protection-and-participation. aspx http://edoc. hu-berlin. de/dissertationen/subbaraman-subhashini-2008-02-13/PDF/subbaraman. pdf http://www. preservearticles. com/201106107753/1247-words-free-essay-on-child-labour-in-india. html http://www. legalindia. in/child-labour-in-india-present-scenario http://www. childjustice. org/wsecl/papers/Molankal2008. pdf http://articles. timesofindia. indiatimes. com/2012-08-26/india/33401779_1_child-labour-labour-department-aditi-mehta