Child labour is a grave problem that continues to persist in our Indian society. Its existence can be traced back to some decades and as the years rolled by , the evil has become rampant in towns and cities both. It is a major social evil associated with the exploitation of young, tender children. It is one of the major stains and stigmas on the so-called glorious Indian society. Even though with the changing times, new laws and policies have been framed to eradicate such malicious practices, even today many young, poor children experience the challenges brought by child labor. The problem seems to prevail to a great extent in India. Moreover, it continues to hamper the peace, harmony, and growth of our society in various vital aspects.
This critical analysis aims at understanding the complex, deep-rooted, vital causes, adverse impacts and legislative measures taken by the Government of India to uproot this evil from our society.
Keywords:- Child Labour, deep-rooted evil, causes, effects and critical analysis.
Child labour is the menace that seems to threaten the future of many children in our nation. In simple words, child labour refers to the service that is rendered by children in any field, be it appropriate for them or not. Childhood is a blissful and the most memorable phase of one’s life. However, social evils of these kinds, force a child to be deprived of all the bliss and live the life of an elder forcefully. It snatches away all the happiness and seems to cast a gloom on the life of the child with a long-lasting impression. It is very alarming that this malpractice and the cases of exploitation associated along with it are increasing with a great pace. The issue of child labour has also received international concern and support so as to uproot this evil as soon as possible. In the present scenario, child labour has become a social issue that needs to be dealt on priority and daily basis. We all need to initiate and keep an eye on this issue. In developing countries such as India, child labour is rampant and witnessed on a large scale due to the high level of poverty and poor schooling opportunities fond in the region or area for the children. Child labour is no less than a curse on our society and humanity as well. Instead of studying, playing and enjoying with their fellow friends, these unfortunate souls are made to earn the resources for their livelihood in the very childhood of their life. This introduction to the dark side of life eventually casts a negative impression on the impressionable young, tender minds.
It adversely affects the different aspects of one’s overall development. It intervenes in their normal , regular routine and also causes harm to their physical, mental and social well-being.
Child labour is also witnessed in various cafeterias, restaurants, brick kilns, the firecracker manufacturing industry and many other places. These children are not only deprived of educational opportunities and facilities but also face deterioration in good health. It can be rightly said that it is an open exploitation of young kids in our developing society. Such unfortunate souls eventually end up being unskilled workers for their remaining life. As youngsters and members of society, we all need to ensure that this evil gets limited and eventually curbed from our societal whole. The present-day scenario raises the eyebrows of many social workers and socially conscious personalities. Hence, child labour is no less than a demon for our Indian society.
Causes of Factors Responsible for the Deep-Rooted Nature of Child Labour in India
The first and the foremost cause of child labour in India points towards their utmost poverty in which they are compelled to survive and raise their family members. Because of poverty, educational facilities seem to be next to impossible for these people and hence they make their tender kids help them earn a living so as to make both ends meet. Children are compelled to render service in the shops, factories, industries, etc. Decisions of this kind adversely affect the mental and physical state of young kids.
2. Lack of availability of educational resources:-
Even after being free and independent from a long time, our country’s population in remote and backward areas is still deprived of the essential and required educational facilities and resources. Hence, getting their children properly educated remains a mere dream of such poverty-stricken parents.
3. Family issues:-
Due to disabilities, diseases and various sorts of addiction, there exist many family issues. In such instances, there are no means of regular earning and the wages earned by the children are regarded as the only way to sustain the family. Furthermore, the ever-increasing problem of child labour is also responsible for no downslide in the cases of child labour. The uneducated parents are willing to get their children to indulge in making a living rather than providing them elementary education, which has been made free of cost by the government to India so as to provide these unfortunate souls a bright and promising future.
4. Lack of firm implementation of laws:-
The present-day politics and laws time and again indicate that every citizen should be able to avail the benefits of good health services, equal opportunities to work and most importantly equal opportunities to avail the educational facilities and benefits. The government has made strict laws with regard to the prevention and elimination of the child labour. However, these evils prevail even today on a large scale in or so-called developing, modern society. Therefore, if we sincerely want to curb this growing menace, all of us must strictly adhere to the laws and policies formulated with regard to it.
5. Cheap labour:-
In some cases, the individuals who own factories, cafeterias, shops and manufacturing units employ small children in order to get subordinate and most importantly cheap labour. This is another note–worthy factor that contributes to child labour and adds fuel to the fire. These business owners make the children slog their daylight hours working as per their demands but unfortunately receive just half wages. This is a great form of exploitation and an ugly underbelly of these fast developing and growing cities.
6. Debt trap:-
When people lack financial stability and a sound economic background, it becomes troublesome for them to fulfill their demands and needs, as a result, they borrow money. Being unaware, uneducated and illiterate, these individuals borrow huge amounts of capital and later, having no employment sources, fail to repay the loans borrowed. This eventually, makes them land in the debt trap. Next, in order to compensate for the amount borrowed, they push their children in labour along with them and render service to the moneylender.
7. Professional requirements:-
In some cases, as witnessed in the case of the bangle-making industry, in order to carve out the design with sheer excellence and utmost grace and to minutely work upon the delicate bangle materials, small children are given the first reference. The hands of the adults are not soft and hence, they require and eventually hire children for such dangerous tasks to be fulfilled.
Effects Of Child Labour On The Indian Society
Following are some of the vital and note–worthy effects of the ever-increasing child labour on our society.
Being tender and delicate, children face various sorts of critical and accidental injuries at their workplace. Deep cuts, dizziness, wounds loss of eyesight especially in the bangle–making manufacturing units is greatly evident on a large scale thought the country. in addition to this scars, burns and fractures are also witnessed. Lastly, in the extreme and worst cases, child deaths are also the bitter reality brought by this social evil.
This is one of the most astonishing and alarming consequences brought by child labour. Children undergo various types of abuse whether it be mental abuse or physical abuse. Sexual abuse is also an unavoidable kind of abuse that especially young girls face. The physical abuse consists of beating, giving corporal punishment to the kids. In addition to this, emotional abuse consists of accusing, humiliation, verbal attacks and sudden rejection. All the above–mentioned are due to the emotional abuse that young kids face.
Lastly, due to sexual abuse, young girls, reaching the stage of puberty experience a great amount of exploitation and this eventually casts a gloom on their life, leaving an unforgettable impression.
3. Sexual Exploitation:-
The adults with malicious and filthy minds exploit the young girls sexually. This further leads to rape, early and unwanted pregnancy, and in worst cases it contributes towards the evil of prostitution as well. Hiv - aids and other sexually transmitted diseases are also on the verge of getting spread through such sort of abuses and exploitations.
4. Neglecting essential emotions:-
When young children are compelled to work, they are forced to be isolated from their family. This results in family deprivation and sheer – loneliness. These kids are deprived of the love, affection and care that they must receive from the parental end.
As a result, the emotional stability of these kids gets adversely affected and leads to depression in extreme cases.
5. Physical neglect:-
Due to child labor, the basic necessities of young kids remain unfulfilled. They undergo various health issues and are prone to various health risks and diseases too. Lack of proper clothing, shelter and medication eventually makes their condition miserable and pitiful. Unlike, other kids, these children barely get two square meals a day. This is the root cause of their malnourishment.
6. Lack of educational opportunities:-
Due to lack of educational opportunities, the children indulged in child labor are further deprived of a bright and promising, stable career and future. They are not able to avail the benefits of educational schemes and therefore lag behind in academic qualifications.
7. Liability for the nation:-
When the young children of our society, who are seen as the future reformers are themselves trapped in the vicious and perpetual cycle of poverty and child labor, it is no less than a liability for the country. Instead of being an asset, day by day the number of such children victims is increasing and thus it can be said that the number of liabilities is increasing. If such a trend continues, India’s further progress and development would be next to impossible. We all need to initiate to remove such hurdles from our society as early as possible.
Types of child labor prevalent in the Indian society
Following are the note–worthy and important types of child labor found in India.
1. Industrial Child Labour:-
The manufacturing sector in India employs a large number of child workers. Usually, children below the age of 18 and in between the age – group 5 – 14 are hired and made to work. Industrial child labor is often evident in the firework industry, bangle industry, brick kilns, garments industry, and diamond manufacturing units, etc. Furthermore, unorganized sectors are involved in fueling the evil practice of child labor too to a great extent.
2. Domestic Child Labour:-
This is another form of child labour that is commonly observed. Here, we find both girls and boys employed in order to render service as a domestic helper, maid, servant, looking after the young kids, pets, performing all the daily chores, etc. They are usually hired by rich and wealthy families in order to get cheap and dedicated labour. The parents of such children give their approval in the hope of a stable shelter and wages for their children.
3. Bonded child labour:-
This the third most noticeable type of child labour prevalent in our society. In this type, the small children are compelled to work under the authoritative or the rich for instance a moneylender. This is done to fulfill the purpose of paying off the debt of his parents of guardians. Even though many strict policies and laws have been framed with regard to eliminating it, there are many cases seen or heard every now and then. In addition to this, bonded labour is often witnessed in interiors of the cities and towns and even in remote areas.
Measures to eradicate child labour from our society
Following are some of the suggestions or solutions which if put into action with sincerity may turn out to be fruitful in the coming future.
The need of the hour is to spread awareness on a larger scale among the poverty-stricken parents, who forcefully push their tender kids into child labour. If these parents are aware and can easily differentiate between what is righteous for their children and what is hazardous, half of the battle against the growing menace of child labour is won. Further, today Ngo’s play a vital role in educating the people in backward areas about the importance of all the government legislations and educational opportunities. Arts, theatre, and other tools are used by these organizations to accomplish their goals.
2. Firm implementation of laws:-
The stepping stone towards bringing a social change is framing the desired policies and laws in coordination with the respected authorities. However, until and unless these laws are not put into action i.e are not firmly enforced, no social change or revolution can be brought. The firm implementation of the government legislation can spread fear among the wrongdoers and eventually can favour the victims of child labour.
3. Spreading educational awareness:-
By sending more and more children to school, education can become widespread. The increase in enrollment can be done by infusing the benefits of governmental educational policies and schemes along with future benefits of academic excellence into the minds of the parents and the growing children.
4. Heavy fines & punishments.
By infusing heavy fines and strictly punishing the wrongdoers i.e the people who employ small children as workers in their shops and industries and exploit them in all the above–mentioned aspects, some sort of change can be expected. Further, at all times initiatives and joint efforts must be made to discourage the evil of child labour.
From the above–mentioned facts and points, it is clearly worth – noticing that child labor exists on a larger scale in our Indian society. It is not only an unethical practice that unveils the malicious aspect of our society but is also against the basic level of humanity that is expected from all members of society. Even though due to the policies, governmental legislation, and the appreciable efforts of the non – governmental organizations, there has been a downslide in the cases of child labor, it is still prevalent to a greater extent, especially in the towns and remote areas where people lack modern thinking and are neither updated nor aware. Lastly, on a concluding note, I would like to remark that in order to curb the social evil of child labor from our society, we all need to step ahead and raise our voices against it.