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Child Labor in India

Child labor
refers to the exploitation of the children by employing them to work and
interfering with their ability to attend regular schools, and any work that is
harmful for them mentally, socially, physically or morally. It has been a major
issue all around the world, especially in the developing countries, and it
destroys the future of the child employed in child labor. In Child Labor (Prohibition
and Regulation) Act 1986, a child has been defined as a person who has not
completed the age of 14 years. For a layman, the definition of child labor is
the practice of engaging the children in economic activity as a part-time or a
full time job.

Child labor has
existed throughout the history. During the 19th and the early 20th
centuries children between the ages of 5-14 from poor families worked in
western nations and their colonies. The children worked mainly for factories, mines,
home-based operations, or agriculture. In the early 20th century, thousands
of young boys were employed in glass making industries, factories and mines. The
conditions of working were extremely difficult as there was extreme heat, or no
advanced technologies. The children suffered eye troubles, lung problems, cuts,
heat exhaustion, etc. 


  1. POVERTY – it is one of the main causes of child labor in India.
    It is one of the major drawbacks and the children are considered to be helping hands
    for the family in terms of financial support.
  2. DEBTS – due to the poor economic conditions of people, they
    are forced to borrow money from moneylenders who charge them high rate of
    interests, because of which they find it difficult to repay the debt due to
    which the money lenders employ the debtors, including their children, to work
    for them.
    – there are
    some industries that require delicate hands and little fingers to do the minute
    work, such as in bangle making factories. Bangle making industry is known for
    employing children.

                                    RIGHTS OF CHILDREN IN

In India, the government has
taken various effective measures to eliminate child labor. The Indian
constitution has incorporated provisions to secure the rights of children, such
as compulsory elementary education as well as the labor protection for children.
Some other provisions are:

  1. No child
    below the age of 14 shall be employed in any factory or mines or engaged in any
    other form of hazardous work.
  2. States in
    particular shall direct its policy towards securing the health of the workers,
    men and women and the tender age f children are not abused and that the
    citizens are not forced by economic necessity to for their children to work.
  3. The state
    shall provide free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of
    6-14 as such a manner as the state may determine by law. 


Even though
strict laws and policies are being formed for the protection of children
against child labor, the reality stands totally opposite. The laws formed are
hard to enforce, especially in the rural areas where it is most prevalent and
the villages are barely connected to state infrastructure. For many families in
India, giving up child labor means letting go of an entire income which could
push them deeper into poverty. For most of the factory owners, using child
labor is the only way to produce local products at a cheap rate and be able to
make them compete in the international market. The states have the responsibility
to enforce laws for the protection of children, however due to the lack of
funds and proper administration; they are unable to do so. Also the judicial
system of India, is not competent enough to stop the violators of child labor
easily. Many a times the violators can very easily slip through the cracks
because of the lack of proper administration, and even though they are found
guilty, the fine for the same is not enough for a practical deterrent. 

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