Eradicate child labour | By Jubel D’Cruz


Eradicate child labour

CHILD labour is a pressing problem in India and in many parts of the world today. It is a crime where children are forced to work at a very young age. It is like expecting kids to perform responsibilities like working and fending for themselves. There are certain policies which have put restrictions and limitations on children working.

The term “child labour” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. In India, the Constitution lays out rules against child labour under Article 24, which states, “No child below the age of 14 shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or employed in any hazardous employment.”

Thousands of children all over the world work in fast food centres, petrol pumps, selling newspapers, washing cars, in garment factories and in leather industries. They also work as street hawkers. Sometimes, they become pickpockets as well. They also work as labourers in small-scale industries. They even work in the houses of people as servants. In most cases, the owners are very harsh to them. They do not even regard them as humans.

The average age for a child to work is 14 years as per the Constitution of India. Children falling below this age limit should not be allowed to indulge in any type of work forcefully. Why is it so? Because child labour takes away its opportunity of having a normal childhood, a proper education, and a physical and mental well-being.

Child labour happens due to a number of reasons. While some of the reasons may be common in some countries, there are some reasons which are specific in particular areas and regions. When we look at what is causing child labour, we will be able to fight it better.

Firstly, it happens in countries that have a lot of poverty and unemployment. When families do not have enough earning, they put their children to work so that they can have enough money to survive. Similarly, if the adults of the family are unemployed, the younger ones have to work in their place. Moreover, when people do not have access to education, they will ultimately put their children to work. Furthermore, the money-saving attitude of various industries is a major cause of child labour. They hire children because they pay them less for the same work done by an adult. As children work more than adults and also at lesser wages, they prefer children.

If we wish to eradicate child labour, we need to formulate some very effective solutions which will save our children. It will also enhance the future of any country dealing with these social issues. To begin with, one can create a number of unions that solely work to prevent child labour. It should help the children indulging in this work and punishing those who make them do it. Furthermore, we need to keep the parents in the loop so as to teach them the importance of education. If we make education free and people aware, we will be able to educate more and more children who won’t have to do child labour. Moreover, making people aware of the harmful consequences of child labour is a ‘must’.

In addition, family control measures must also be taken. This will reduce the family’s burden so when you have lesser mouths to feed, the parents can work instead of the children. Every family must be promised a minimum income by the government to survive.

—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Mumbai, India

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