In 2001, the national census of India found the total number of child laborers, aged (5-14) to be at 10.1 million, out of the total of 259.64 million children in that age group. The child labor problem is not unique to India. Worldwide about 217 million children work full time.
For much of the human history spread across different cultures, children less than 18 years old have contributed to family welfare in a variety of ways. UNICEF suggests that poverty is the biggest causes of child labor. The report also notes that in a rural impoverished parts of developing and undeveloped parts of the world, children have no real and meaningful alternative. Quality education is unavailable to them.
Between boys and girls, UNICEF finds girls are two times more likely to be out of school and working in a domesticated role especially when parents have limited resources. Claims UNICEF, people have to choose a school whose costs and fees are affordable. Educating girls tends to be a lower priority across the world, including India. Girls are also harassed or bullied at schools, sidelined by prejudice or poor economic conditions. Solely by virtue of their gender, many girls are kept from school or they drop out early, and opt for child labor. A child is defined as any person below the age of 14. The CLPR act prohibits employment of a child in any employment including as a domestic help except helping own family in non-hazardous occupations. It is a cognizable criminal offence to employ a child for any work. Children between age of 14 and 18 are known as ‘adolescent’ and the law allows adolescents to be employed except in the listed hazardous occupation and process which include mining, inflammable substance and explosives related work and any other hazardous process as per the factories act 1948. Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act 2015. This law made it a punishable crime, for anyone to keep a child in bondage for the purpose of employment.
Under the Right of children to free and compulsory education act 2009, the law mandates free and compulsory education to all children aged 6 to 14 years. This legislation also mandated that 25 percent of seats in every private school must be allocated for children from economically disadvantaged groups (implementation gaps remain).
India formulated a national policy on child labor in the year 1987. This policy seeks to adopt a gradual and sequential approach with a focus on rehabilitation of children working in hazardous occupations. It envisioned strict enforcement of Indian laws on child labor combined with development programs to address the root causes of child labor project (NCLP) initiative. This legal and development initiative continues, with a current central government funding of Rs 6 billion targeted solely to eliminate child labor remains a major challenge for India. No child below age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any hazardous employment.
The term child labor suggests is best defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, their dignity and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It also interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school. Obliging them to leave school prematurely, or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
Categories: Social Issues