Child Labor Prohibition and Prevention in India

October 8, 2013

child labor prohibition and prevention in India

Have you seen children working in restaurants, a supermarket or even in people’s homes?  Instances of such things happening are at a decline with the amendment and expansion of child labor laws.  The childhoods of millions of Indian children can be saved if there is effective implementation of child labor prevention laws.  Instead of slogging and being exploited in restaurants, as domestic helpers and in other workplaces, many children can enjoy their childhood, study and dream of a better future.  Let us look at the serious problem of child labor which is plaguing India in spite of the well-meaning expansion and amendment of child labor laws.

More than 12 million children, between the age group of 5 and 14, were involved in all sorts of occupations including hazardous ones as per the 2001 Census of India.  The constitution itself under Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc, says, “No child below the age of 14 shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or in any other hazardous employment.” In 2006, the government of India passed an amendment of the Child Labor Prevention Act to include a strict ban of children from working in teashops, dhabas and restaurants and also as domestic help workers.  It made it a punishable offense with a jail term of 3 months to 2 years and/or a fine of Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 20,000. Many NGOs along with government agencies are working tirelessly to rehabilitate children who have been saved from child labor and empowering them with a better future.  However, the sad fact is that even after 10 years after the 2001 census, instances of children continuing to be employed in restaurants, as domestic workers and even in hazardous occupations like mines and quarries continue.

What will you do if you find any child labor occurring in your neighborhood or in any town or village you visit?   Write down an imaginary incident involving what you and your friends can do against child labor.  Poverty is one factor which can force families to send their children for work or deny them the right to education.  In Indian patriarchal societies, girl children are more likely to be out of school and doing all sorts of work than boys with the first preference given to education to boys in certain homes.  The Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009 is also a move in the direction of tackling child labor issues in India.  Now, that you have caught a short glimpse of child labor in India along with laws and its prohibition and prevention, do not turn a blind eye if you see child labor happening.

photo credit: The Last Paladin via photopin cc

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