Child Labour refers to the practice of engaging children in economic activities. These children are deprived of primary education and exposed to mental and physical dangers. The practice of child labour is seen to be deeply penetrated in the Indian society.
Causes: Inadequate number of schools, poverty, and lack of literacy among the parents are some of the causes of child labour. Among these, poverty is the single most dominating stimulant of child labour.
In the backdrop of extreme economic condition, young children are forced to become wage earners. Further, they are made to work hard without getting adequately remuneration.
Since the school facilities are inadequate, children often don’t find any other meaningful alternative.
Laws: The Indian laws include the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act, The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, The Factories Act, The Mines Act, etc. The government should make arrangements to ensure that the Child Labour laws are properly followed.
Socio-economic Problem: Children are put to work to earn and provide support to the family. The children aged between eight and fourteen are being largely employed in hotels, tea-shops, restaurants, factories, agriculture, etc. Female children are also employed as maid-servants, babysitters, cooking, house cleaners, clothes washers, etc.
UNICEF: The organization is making several attempts to reduce and abolish the evil system of child labour.
Consequence: Child labour is serious threat to economic growth. Uneducated children of today cannot contribute much in the economic prosperity of the country. Further, it is an extreme case of human rights violation.
Initiatives: A National Policy on Child Labour was formulated in 1987 and the Government of India has taken several initiatives to completely eradicate child labour. Due to the lack of co-operation from the society, child labour is still a major problem for the government.