PROHIBITION OF CHILD LABOR: MYTH AND REALITY
"I am the child. All the world waits for my coming. All the earth watches with interest to see what I shall become. Civilization hangs in the balance, for what I am, the world of tomorrow will be. I am the child. You hold in your hand my destiny. You determine, largely, whether I shall succeed or fail, Give me, I pray you, these things that make for happiness. Train me, I beg you, that I may be a blessing to the world". –Justice Hansaria.
Childhood is the most innocent phase of life and it is meant to be the best time of life. There are lots of things going on in a society that directly affects children’s mentally, physically and emotionally. India is a democratic country where everyone has their rights, even the unborn child in the womb of a woman. Constitution of India guarantees social justice, liberty and equality to all its citizens. For achieving these objectives, we have the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.
Each of these is supreme within their sphere. Child labor in India is a serious problem that has not been solved through either government regulation or international pressure. By expanding the economy and reducing poverty, development theory argues that the problem of child labor can be curbed. In India, that has not happened, since 1991, India’s economy has grown at an unprecedented level. Nonetheless, child labor appears to be at the same levels in the 1990s as it was in the previous decades. This fact suggests that poverty alleviation alone will not end child labor.
The term “child labor” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity,
Children are the vulnerable group and since they are vulnerable they are not able to take care of themselves on their own someone else needs to take their care and responsibility and that is harmful to physical and mental development.
It refers work that:
• is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children and/or;
• Interference with the child ability to attend and participate in school prematurely, or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively ling and heavy work
INTER LINKED FACTORS:
There are so many factors in contribution to prevalence of child labor. Child labor is both cause and consequence of poverty. Child labor impedes children from gaining the skills and education they need to have opportunities of decent work as an adult.
House hold poverty.
Lack of parental care.
Lack of educational opportunity.
Slow demographic transition.
All contributes to the persistence of child labor in India.
House hold poverty:
Household poverty forces children to the labor market to earn money. Some perform child labor to supplement family income while many also are in it for survival. They, miss out on an opportunity to gain an education, further perpetuating household poverty across generations, slowing the economic growth and social development.
Lack of parental care:
Providing every child with the best possible parental care is the first and the most basic need of every child for their betterment and to provide them with the best life so far. But if there is lack of parental care there are lots of things that can misguide a child and it can also happen that the child moves on the wrong path that is wrong for him and as well as for the whole society. As the children’s are so vulnerable that they totally depend on the environment we are providing them.
Lack of educational opportunity:
The discriminating attitude of parents towards the education of the girl child is adding the number of child laborers in the village. So most of the child laborers in case of never admitted are of female children. Both the never admitted and drop-out children, in turn, get trapped into the child laboring, Nasser (2013). Discriminating children’s on the basis of their gender leads to the lack of educational opportunity among them.
Slow demographic transaction:
Large decline in death rate defines demographic transaction. Demographic transition is model used to represent the death rate and the birth rate where birth rate is much higher than death rate and if there is very large population of new born babies the care towards them decreases because of limited sources for their upbringing. There would also be the great chances for the scarcity of resource.
There are so many factors encourages child labor and one of the very important factor is tradition. Here tradition means following the footsteps of the parents and joining their jobs and do things they were doing, for example some of the parents works in the mines in a hazardous condition and their child’s were also supposed to do the same work as their parents are doing and hence it becomes the tradition of following parents and working same. There are so many more factors that directly cause child labor such as slow economic growth, lack of information, ignorance, etc. To reduce such a rapid increase in the number of child labor the government took some major steps such as introducing education not just as the need but as the right of children’s.
The government always plays an important role behind everything going on in a country. Child Labour is one of the serious hurdles on the path of human development in India. Adverse effects of child labour have been accepted by the world and internationally, steps are being taken by the Government of India. From the very beginning that is since we got independence government of India is taking so many major steps to eradicate child labor from India.
“They began work at 5:30 and quit at 7 at night. Children six years old going home to lie on a straw pallet until time to resume work the next morning! I have seen the hair torn out of their heads by the machinery, their scalps torn off, and yet not a single tear was shed, while the poodle dogs were loved and caressed and carried to the seashore.”
― Mother Jones
1. Right to Education.
2. National child labour project (NCLP), 1988.
3. National Authority for the Elimination of Child Labour (NAECL), 1994
Right to Education:
Article 21A of the Indian Constitution imposes the duty on every state to provide free and compulsory education to child below 14 years of age without any kind of discrimination and made it the fundamental right.
National child labor projection (NCLP), 1988:
Initially, the scheme was implemented in nine districts. The scheme involves establishment of special schools for child labour. These special schools provide formal and informal education along with vocational training, and also provide a monthly stipend. Other facilities such as supplementary nutrition and health care also provided to such children. The number of districts covered under NCLP scheme were increased to 100 in the 9th five year plan and further increased to 250 in the 10th plan.
National Authority for the Elimination of Child Labour (NAECL), 1994:
A highly powerful body, the National Authority for the Elimination of Child Labour was established on September 26, 1994, headed by the Union Minister of labour in government of India.
CHILD AND ADOLESCENT LABOUR (PROHIBITION AND REGULATION) ACT, 1986:
An Act to prohibit the engagement of children in all occupations and to prohibit the engagement of adolescents in hazardous occupations and processes and the matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. It’s been more than 32 years parliament passed the bill to prohibits child labor and make it illegal, but what really happening is it is not rare to see child working in mines, in hazardous places risking their lives, Bengal factory, fire workers, etc. travel to any part of India and you witness children working. After taking all the steps child labor is going on without fear of law and some very heartbreaking case came in notice and lots of cases are not even registered.
M.C Mehta v State of Tamil Nadu and others:
The judgment is a historic judgment on child labour, which elaborated the situation of child labour in India. It outlines the vision of Constitution with respect to children. The judgment highlighted the relation between poverty and child labour and also shed light on how the state has failed to eradicate child labour and its lack of zeal to deal with it. The judgment also deliberated on possible solutions to eradicate the child labour.
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016:
There is a recent amendment in The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016 receives the assent of the President on 29th July, 2016. The Act came into force in order to amend Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
ROLE OF STAKEHOLDERS:
The author have further classified the role different stakeholders in society plays to eradicate child labour. The stakeholders are divided into four heads:
There has been specific legislation aimed at curbing the problem and punishing the offenders. For the rehabilitation of Child labour several social programs were conducted. In recent upcoming years, the main emphasis is on giving basic and primary level education to every child.
In 1979, a committee titled Gurupadswamy Committee at the Central level the first statutory committee was formed to examine and inspect on the subject of Child labour in India.
The board was also mission with framing definite recommendations to check child labour. Taking into account the holding and suggestion of the Gurupadswamy Committee, the Union Government approved the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act in 1986. The Act forbids children from being employed in particularly hazardous occupations and at the same period adjusts their working condition in other non-hazardous occupations and operation. And a lot is being done in the present time by bringing a number of legislation and regulations to tackle the issue of child labour.
In a country like India, Media can play a proactive role in bringing about behavioral change in masses. Mass-Media can present chief and notable role in putting such as child labour on public and political agenda. Media can take various forms.
Mass Media (Audio-Visual) Mass media is important as it has the ability to communicate effectively with a huge amount of people at the same duration. This medium leaves the audience with an image, which has more shelf life than a text or only a voice-driven message. This also increases the credibility of the message being delivered. The barrier of illiteracy is removed and the communication can be understood by all – literate as well as illiterate. Though it is an expensive medium considering its reach and speed is a suitable medium to meet the objectives. The other advantage of this medium is the imagery created. Media innovations and strategic buying of media can help in optimizing the results.
Mass Media (Print media)- This is an effective medium as it, too, reaches a huge amount of people in the same period. Further, this is a credible and relatively less costly medium. The existence of various vernacular print mediums also helps us customize the communication as per the language understood by the people. This medium is useful in giving detailed information but to optimize the impact of the communication the focus should be on the key message. In the use of print media, the use of visuals is more effective. This media has restricted use, only among the literate audience.
Traditional Media (Street theatre, puppets, storytelling, folk dances etc.)-The main advantage of this medium is that communication can be customized as per the audience need by using local jargon and slang. Familiar messages and situations can be selected to generate empathy. It has the potential to be self-sustaining at low/no cost. The restricted reach is a problem coupled with the need for training and support to such media at the local level.
If not child labor then what?
The second biggest question. Well, in India the unemployment rate of youth is 10.51% in the year 2019. The youth of country are capable of working in such places like in mining industries. Now what about the children living below the poverty line? It is always wrong to break the laws at any stage of life and providing them with such a work for the sake of trying to help the poor. It is no way a substitute to stop buying and going to places where child labor is taking place these are clearly the worst substitute because the countries who did this now suffering from child prostitution. Children do not work because they want to or their parents want them to but because they are very poor that they have no other way. As the process of economic development happens income goes up and child labor goes down. Donating money to charity and when the rich and capable people develop empathy towards these poor people and help them with the short percent of their earning. The real cure for child labor is adopting institutions that support economic freedom, private property rights and rule of law. When such things happen the process of economic development occurs, and child labor ended at all of its own. Each person having their own moral principles. ‘The man may lie but the circumstances don’t’.
CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTIONS:
Child labor is a far-reaching problem, especially for the children living below poverty or just at the line of poverty, the world is trying too hard to solve the issues and let children enjoy their rights.
Believe in the future where everyone has a right to pursue happiness. The worst will over when the cases about the breaking of law come in the light, however, the good news is that the incidence of child labor has decreased in India by 2.6 million between 2001 and 2011. Where the decline in the numbers is more visible in the rural area as compared to urban areas. The global figure for child labor stands at 168 million in 2012. Even though if see at the moral part of child labor it may seem that it is morally right to provide someone employment and help them by full filling their needs but there is a distinction between what is morally reprehensible with what makes someone legally accountable. Child labour is a serious hindrance to the social and economic development of the nation.
Children employed in various sectors fail to get the necessary education, virtually forced to lead a life of hardship and poverty. It also affects the overall health of a child, as children get exhaust easily and are not physically fit to work for longer durations under difficult conditions.
We should first teach students the needs of the studies and after that teach them, because necessities plays an important role in our lives.
I suggest for a new approach that puts people and the work they do at the center of economic and social policy and business practice: a human-centered agenda for the future of work. This agenda focuses on three pillars of action.
First, it means investing in people’s capabilities, enabling them to acquire skills, reskill and up skill and supporting them through the various transitions they will face over their life course.
Second, investing in the institutions of work to ensure a future of work with freedom, dignity, economic security, and equality.
Third, investing in decent and sustainable work and shaping rules and incentives so as to align economic and social policy and business practice with this agenda.
By harnessing transformative technologies, demographic opportunities, and the green economy, these investments can be powerful drivers of equity and sustainability for the present and future generations.
International labor organization (ILO)
World Health Organization
By: Vanshika Sharma.