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child labour
apoorva srivastava | 06 Mar 2008

india is the most largest country plagued with the problem of child labour.. Here are some finding to address the problem to general public

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Though we make huge claims that India?s development is accorded in its all sector ranging from corporate to private, IT to telecomm from retail to economic sectors but the fact that India is the single largest country plagued by the problem of child labour brings down all these pat claims. According to 2001 Indian Government survey 13 millions children are out of schools and 12.67 millions are involved in this noxious child labour. The data seems to be astonishing but the real picture is yet to explore. As it is close too impossible to gauge exact number of child laborers. Failure to estimate exact number of child workers is also attributed by the fact that the Indian government has been negligent in its refusal to collect and analyses the problem. The ignominy is further leveled up with the UNICEF report (Human right watch 1996,122), which cited figures ranging from ?seventy five to ninety million child laborers under the age of fourteen?. This is a blatant truth that from metropolitans? cities to small villages children are engaged in all kinds of chores ranging from washing clothes and utensils to looking after infants in the houses. And for petty mistakes they commit harrowing incidents like merciless beating, burning, rape, harassments and even murder sometimes occur. New Testament quotes ?Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: For of such is the kingdom of God?. If we have given children a coveted status of God than are we not pious? If Yes, than why we exploit God?s wonder creation ?Child, Why don?t we step forward to pause this poignant child labour. And, if No, than why communal riot strikes our country again and again, why sensitive issues like Vande Mataram are being raised by our opinion leaders from time to time. The question arises are we not biased. What society are we serving? Is it not hypocrisy? Before moving on any further, let us first learn what is Indian government policy on child labour. Article 24 of Indian constitution clearly quotes ? No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or employed in any hazardous and non-hazardous employment?. Article 39(e) claims ?the health and strength of workers and the tender age of if children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter in avocations unsuited to their age or strength?. It is also important to throw light that the recent notification in this regard, which is enforced on October 10,2006 is just an extension of child labour prohibition and regulation act, 1986. The child labour prohibition act restricts a child of less than 14 years of age in hazardous and non-hazardous occupations which are further divided into nine industrial divisions: 1) Cultivations, 2) Agriculture labour, 3) Livestock, forestry, fishing, plantation, 4) Mining and quarrying, 5) Manufacturing, processing, servicing and repairs, 6) Construction, 7) Trade and Commerce, 8) Transport, Storage and Communication, and 9) Other services. All though propitious policies to eradicate child labour are existent but the continuous government reneges still demur the issue. As we all agree with the notion that Indian government is always ready to make laws but when it comes to effective implementation of laws our punctured implementation machinery has major role to play. One such fiasco of how Indian government fails is when former prime minister of India Mr. Narashima Rao announced his well-applauded proposal to eliminate child labour for two million children working in hazardous and non-hazardous industries. This program revolves around incentives for children to quit their work and proposed a non-formal schooling and grant a one hundred rupee payment as well as one meal a day for attending school. But where the funds for this programme will come is still unknown and how this process would be implemented is also not known. This kind of attitude clearly shows a downfall of stern policy and farcical implementations machinery. It is dishearten to learn that though we have ample policies to eradicate child labour yet the problem of child labour in India seems to be inexorable even though all these policies are existent. To render medication without evaluating the disease is a dodgy idea. If we analysis the reasons behind failure and non-compliance of child labour law, we cannot ignore the lack of sense of urgency to the national deprived children. For the effective implementation of laws basis questions need to be answered .Why a child does a labour? Is he don?t want to play like any other financially sound child? Why a child is deprived of his childhood? A quick answer is money; if they don?t labour they will die from starvation and secondly pear pressure from their parents also compel them to indulge in such chores. But unfortunately there is no punishment for them! However the law says that violators are charged with a chunk money or imprisonment for two years. But there is abysmally low conviction rate so that it hardly acts as a deterrent for employment. In India the main factor that leveled up the problem and also is the main cause of grief is ?poverty?. In India 63.74% of child laborers belong under poverty line. Poor families who struggle and fails to get a two-time meal in a day has no other alternative but to send their wards to work. Families need money to survive and with no other source of additional income they are left with no other option but to inculcate income from little hands. Factor, which acts a determinant for poverty, is India?s wrecking social structure or casteism. Scheduled tribe and scheduled caste are still living under the hands of upper caste. With no other addition income these scheduled class and scheduled tribe children tend to be pushed into the menace child labour. These classes who occupy the lower level in our social hierarchy, to strengthen their economic support children work are considered essential to maintain economic support. According to reports child?s contributes around 34 and 37 percent of total household income alone. In such conurbation, formulating child labour law is not a propitious step to stop child labour but one needs to also gear up the proper implementation machinery to yield desired results. Poverty and poor social structure are not only the determinants for child labour. Educational system also needs to be put under inspection. In India due to poor knowledge and awareness level, educational system is also paralyzed. So improper educational program for underprivileged also contribute to increase in cases of child labour. Education is the only prime factor, which plays an upper role in contributing to poverty and poor caste structure. Ignored and unaware indigent families feel that taking work from children will develop skill in little hand to earn for their lives ahead while education for them is a long and complex process to earn money. Lack of proper and universal education mechanism can be estimated by viewing India?s over all literacy rate which is only 40.8%, this percentage lags behind other developing countries for example China has 72.6% , Sri Lanka has 86.1% in these countries child labour in not a major problem, which directly signifies the role of education for declining child labour rate. It is also worth noticing that these countries have Per Capita Income same as India. Thus, the only difference is educational policy which in sense leads to poverty and finally to child labour. Poverty, skimpy social structure and poor educational policy are the rats that have been plaguing our nation. But if there are rats, there are also rat-kills to get rid of this plague called as child labour. Therefore it should be the bounded duty of every citizen of this nation not to take help for domestic/industrial purposes from little hands. One should always remember ?Children are hopes, feel the dignity of a child Do not feel superior to them for you are not? Government now needs to realize that only by formulating long tabloids in form of laws will not yield desired results. Proper implementation must be formed to pause this ignominy. If we want to eradicate child labour then we have to touch the nerves of this very problem. Study had showed that in regions like Kerala and Sri Lankha proper educational programme had acted as an effective tool to deter child labour. To eliminate child labour and replace it with universal education requires a focus to maintain humble, humanitarian and compassionate approach in rendering assistance to the victims. Government needs to allocate more funds to primary education rather than on higher education and it also needs to revive faith among indigents that though education is a long process but it will yield fruitful results. As in India children are growing up illiterate because they are depriving them away from schools. Which indeed leads to a formation of chain of poverty years after years. Therefore, we need to boost up our educational system for poors. ?Train up the children a way, He should go, and when he is old, He will not depart from it? Government also needs to step forward to uplift these indigent?s economic and social structure. Only by implementing universal education programme will alone not make a difference. Cumulative steps must be made to shake off the very roots of this ignominy. We also need to uproot poverty by addressing the plight of the poors. Government should also needs allocate few sources of bank income, government loans or other credit source at very low interest to clear off the dept under which their indigents are groveling. It will also help to eradicate harsher form of child labour ?bounded child labour. Bounded child labour is the harshest and most pathetic form of child labour. Where children are paid less than the interest of which their parents took loans. So child are bounded to work, while interest of the loan accumulates. Therefore it becomes next to impossible for these indigents to pay the whole sum of depts. Through their little incomes. According to International Labour Organization 1993,12 (ILO) ?Even if the bounded laborers are released, the same conditions of poverty that cause the initial dept can cause people to slip back into bondage?. In dark clouds the government policies will provide a ray of hope to the dismay of these indigents. Child labour is not merely a problem for our country but it?s a disease. And in any ways we all are some how contributing to the culture of this disease. Child labour will not be dealt or eradicated only by one person initiative, efforts, approach and participation but we all have to step forward to tackle this glaring problem of child labour. It is government prerequisite to revive trust and optimism in society and address plight of children to the masses and strive best to give back their childhood is the most critical task. Government should make maximum use of media by promoting new advertisements, programs condemning employment of children below 14 years. Articles, notifications regarding to aware masses of their fundamental rights should be made. Government with alliance from local NGO?S, BBA (Bachpan Bachao Andolan) volunteers and students should carry awareness program to the endemic areas. To maintain the efficacy of the law inspection machinery should be geared up through rigorous training that should submit their report timely to central government and the head of such machinery should be child friendly person the government should allocate adequate resources for the prompt statutory rehabitation and repatriation of rescued childlabourer; special packages should also be rendered to them. . It is now a time to pledge together to adopt a proper and strong process to make this law a ?sos? and accelerates its efficacy so that it just not become a distant dream. APOORVA SRIVASTAVA B.J.M.C-3rd Semester Department of Journalism And Mass Communication, LUCKNOW UNIVERSITY .;<^??? z  ?$-%}%%?)?*{/?1?1?4?4?4?4P5Q5?5@6B6v7??????????????????5?6?H*\?]?CJCJ5?\? 5?CJ\?6?]? 5?6?\?]?5?6?CJOJQJ\?]?6?OJQJ]? 5?CJ \?>*;<??67??? 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