Azhar ud Din
Although child labour is a burning issue in the contemporary world but nobody is serious about it. It is a global phenomenon which spans numerous sectors in both developed and developing economies. The term “child labour” refers to work and economic activities carried out by persons under the age of 18 years that harms their safety, health and wellbeing and hinders their education, development and future livelihoods.
Capitalists and Industrialists are the prime exploiters of children. They treat them as slaves and bondservants. Children who are best suited for schools are seen in factories, roadside tea stalls, shops etc. Instead of books, pens and other stationary items their hand are busy with the instruments which are used in factories, industries and shops. The health conditions of the labour children are worse and deteriorating. Their wages are scant and low. Besides this, their working hours are long and elongate. It will not be suitable to say that they are willing for this miserable act, but it is the poverty which compels them for doing this agonizing and painful task. Without eradicating the roots of poverty child labour cannot be abolished. Poverty is a paramount root cause of child labour. A poor father whose income is insufficient i.e. hand to mouth is ready to send his child for labour work.
Although the government of many countries have already implemented the laws regarding the abolishing of child labour. The Article 24 of Indian constitution prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 in any factory, mine or other hazardous activity. In addition, there are many acts in the Constitution of India like The Factories Act of 1948, The mines Act of 1952, The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation)Act of 1986 etc, which had been passed to prohibit the child labour. But still it is prevalent in the every nook and corner of the country. Why the government is unable to implement these laws at ground level is a million dollar question. The answer of it perhaps lies within the unscrupulous administration of the country.
Child Labour in India is to be found in almost every sector of the informal economy. As reported by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the state of Uttar Pradesh has the highest child labour population followed by Andhra Pradesh. As mentioned in The Times of India article on 18 October 2013 that Uttar Pradesh has the highest number (20%) of India ‘s child labourers, particularly between the age group of ten to fourteen. The rate of poverty is highest among the people in Uttar Pradesh where a large population is living in slums mainly in urban areas. The region is dominated by families with large size families constituting of about eight members in every family.
There is also gender difference between boys and girls in India. Male children wallow more in it rather than female. Moreover, the work of girls is more invisible and as a result hidden and not reported. The high incidence of child labour is much higher in rural areas than urban areas and most of the child labour in rural areas is engaged in agricultural activities.
Although many countries like India had already launched some free educational and midday meal schemes and policies, yet scores of children are not in the condition to take benefit from these government policies. The main reason behind this fact is that the economic conditions of their families is fatal which prompted them to leave their studies and engage in work.
In conclusion we aver that the government’s effort for the welfare of children will not achieve the success unless and until they would not implement the policies and schemes of the welfare of poor. In order to eradicate the roots of poverty government should take steps at ground level. First of all, the government should create more (1) Job opportunities in both private and public sector. (2) Raise the minimum wage. (3) Tackle the problem of black money. (4)Skill development. (5) Check on population growth.
Besides these measures, the government should also implement some schemes and policies in the field of agriculture which include, to provide the agricultural loans to the farmers at very low interest rates and to provide fertilizers at low prices, so as to increase the production of essential crops. When the government will take all these initiative at the ground level then ultimately the problem of child labour will overcome in future. Otherwise, if the government will not take any strict action against this miserable act, the future of this country would continue to remain in darkness because children, who are the future of a nation are considered as its prestigious wealth. So, when this wealth is exploited, the progress is impossible. Having goverment’s failure in front of us we cannot neglect the role of the society and common masses. Society, public groups, religious organizations should come forward to give helping hand to these children of a lesser god. Though our societies donate so much in charity but the need of the hour is to properly channelize and distribute the amount among the needy.
The author is the student of Geography at Aligarh Muslim University and hails from Islamabad Kashmir. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position or editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.