Every child is innocent, pure-hearted and full of life. A child is associated with his or her childhood; which is the most beautiful phase of a child's life. It is the time for play, study and being oneself. A section of children get to enjoy their childhood and enjoy a family environment, school life, studying, playing, making friends and pursuing their heart's desire. Be it the urban or rural sector, childhood is what makes a child into a true person. In the rural areas children are seen to help their parents in their work and have their share of fun as well. But, are all children fortunate enough to have a happy and fun filled childhood? It is a question that we should ask ourselves and become aware of a harsh reality - Child Labour!
Child labour exists in several forms across the state and country. We see so many children who are deprived of their childhood and do not get the opportunity to enjoy life as children should do. They do not play, study or go to school. They are striving hard to earn their living by working in roadside stalls, shops, markets, railway platforms, restaurants, dhabas and in several households as domestic helps. Children are seen doing odd jobs such as polishing shoes, washing dishes and utensils, cars, buses, auto rickshaws and taxis. They are not paid well and are seen as a cheap source of labour that makes them vulnerable to exploitation by the masses. These children are seen to toil beyond working hours and are seen slogging their lives out for a meal or for a few pennies to support their families who are below the poverty line. In reality, these children should be in schools and doing all the things that normal children do.
In context to the law of the land, child labour is a crime and whoever encourages it should be punished severely, so that innocent children aren't deprived of their childhood. Every child has a right to education as per the laws of the state and country; and it is time that we begin implementing the same effectively to get rid of this menace that is destroying the economy and future growth of the country. The country and state should ensure that child labour is banned and every child has secure and happy childhood. In our own small way, we should also not encourage child labour in our homes and neighbourhood and discourage those who think of employing children as domestic helps or making them do all kinds of odd jobs.
In the words of William Shakespeare - 'Children are the fathers of men'. If this holds true, then we should ensure every child's childhood. We should work for a brighter future and a progressive Indian society. Steps should be taken to educate and help these children who are victims of child labour and securing their future, instead of depriving them of their childhood. There are some schools, institutions and organizations who have taken up the task of educating street children and getting them to enjoy their childhood like any normal child. After all they are also Indian citizens of the Republic of India, whose constitution is for the people, of the people and by the people.
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Child labor has been an international concern because it damages, spoils and destroys the future of children. The problem of child labor is a serious matter not only in India but also in other developing countries. It is great social problem. Children are the hope and future of a nation. Yet, there are millions deprived children in our country who have never known a normal, carefree childhood.
The law in Indian soil says that any child below age of 14 cannot be employed either in a factory or office or restaurant. In fact, India’s international business has been severely affected in many cases because child labors, violating human rights, have been used in some stage or the other in manufacturing, packaging a transport of those items. And, in a large number of cases of export of ready-made garments, prawn and several other items from India has been rejected on grounds of child labor being used.
Truly speaking child labor is frequently utilized in India in various places of production and service e.g., small scale industry, restaurant service, domestic aid, shopkeeper’s assistant, stone breaking, book binding, in fact in every house-hold industry.
Causes of Child Labor
Now what is the background of engaging child labor,
- To have or increase the income of a poor family
- To reduce the labor cost in a production organization
- Misc. reasons for engaging as domestic aid as the children are less doubtful about dishonesty or less liable to misbehave or be violent.
In a developed society where every citizen counts and all citizens have to have proper education, health care supports, games and entertainment and complete his education so that when he is a fully grown adult he can get a full employment with standard salary.
Solutions to Child Labor
The solution to the problem of Child Labor are:
- The Child labor laws need to be strictly enforced by the Government.
- The general public need to be made aware of the severe consequences of Child labor.
- An increase in employment opportunity for adults would help in overcoming the problem of poverty and child labor.
- Government should ensure that every child gets the opportunity to go to school.
- The owners of factories and mines should take the pledge of not engaging child in their place of business.
If the boy or girl takes up a small job as a domestic help or restaurant boy against a nominal salary of Rs. 750-1800 per month, he does not get enough time time for primary and secondary education and is most likely to remain completely illiterate, unskilled, perhaps with a weak health and will have to remain unemployed or be engaged as an unskilled labor when he is grown up. Hence in his own benefit and interest no child should be engaged as labor both from legal point of view as well as the child’s future interest.
Also read:Social Issues in India (causes, effects and solutions)
Category: National Issues of India