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Child Labour

Child labour is a significant problem in South East Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Latin American Countries. These regions are relatively backward as compared to the rest of the world and the problem of child labour.

symptom as well as a cause of this backwardness.
The major determinant of child labour is poverty. Even though children are paid less than adults, whatever income they earn is of benefit to poor families. In addition to poverty, the lack of adequate and accessible sources of credit forces poor parents to engage their children in the harsher form of child labour -- bonded child labour.

Some parents also feel that a formal education is not beneficial, and that children learn work skills through labour at a young age. These views are narrow and do not take the long term developmental benefits of education into account. Another determinant is access to education. In some areas, education is not affordable, or is found to be inadequate. With no other alternatives, children spend their time working.

The Constitution of India clearly states that child labour is wrong and that measures should be taken to end it. The government of India has implemented the Child Labour Act in 1986 that outlaws child labour in certain areas and sets the minimum age of employment at fourteen. This Act falls short of making all child labour illegal, and fails to meet the ILO guideline concerning the minimum age of employment set at fifteen years of age.

Though policies are in place that could potentially reduce the incidence of child labour, enforcement is a problem. If child labour is to be eradicated in India, the government and those responsible for enforcement need to start doing their jobs. Policies can and will be developed concerning child labour, but without enforcement they are all useless.

The state of education in India also needs to be improved. High illiteracy and dropout rates are reflective of the inadequacy of the educational system. Poverty plays a role in the ineffectiveness of the educational system. Dropout rates are high because children are forced to work in order to support their families.

The attitudes of the people also contribute to the lack of enrollment -- parents feel that work develops skills that can be used to earn an income, while education does not help in this matter. Compulsory education may help in regard to these attitudes. The examples of Sri Lanka and Kerala show that compulsory education has worked in those areas.

There are differences between Sri Lanka, Kerala and the rest of India.

  • What types of social welfare structures do these places have?
  • What are the attitudes of the people?
  • Is there some other reason why the labour market for child labourers is poor in these areas?

These are some questions that need to be answered before applying the concept of compulsory education to India? India is making progress in terms of educational policy. The DPEP has been implemented only four years ago, and so results are not apparent at this time. Hopefully the future will show.

The term 'child labour', suggests ILO,[22] is best defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. Interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliging them to leave school prematurely; or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.

Introduction
The Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986: A "Child" is defined as any person below the age of 14 and the CLPR Act prohibits employment of a Child in any employment including as a domestic help (except helping own family in non-hazardous occupations). It is a cognizable criminal offence to employ a Child for any work. Children between age of 14 and 18 are defined as "Adolescent" and the law allows Adolescent to be employed except in the listed hazardous occupation and processes which include mining, inflammable substance and explosives related work and any other hazardous process as per the Factories Act, 1948(1)

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act of 2015: This law made it a crime, punishable with a prison term, for anyone to keep a child in bondage for the purpose of employment.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009: The law mandates free and compulsory education to all children aged 6 to 14 years. This legislation also mandated that 25 percent of seats in every private school must be allocated for children from disadvantaged groups and physically challenged children.(It is not applied through)

India formulated a National Policy on Child Labour in 1987. This Policy seeks to adopt a gradual & sequential approach with a focus on rehabilitation of children working in hazardous occupations. It envisioned strict enforcement of Indian laws on child labour combined with development programs to address the root causes of child labour such as poverty. In 1988, this led to the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) initiative.

This legal and development initiative continues, with a current central government funding of Rs. 6 billion, targeted solely to eliminate child labour in India.[33] Despite these efforts, child labour remains a major challenge for India. No, child below age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any hazardous employment(2)

  1. Case: PW1 victim Sh. Vicky Patel stated that for the last 10-15 days he is living in Zakhira with his father. Prior to that he was living in his village. It is stated by him that he never permanently resided in Delhi, however, he frequently visited State v. Haroon Rashid U/s 23 JJ Act, 3/14 of Child Labour Act & 374 IPC 2 /5 FIR No. 1197/14 PS Moti Nagar Delhi. It is stated that he never worked in any establishment in Delhi on his visits.

    It is stated by him that he does not know any person namely Nadeem. It is stated by him that he was never rescued by the police. It is stated by him that he does not know any person namely Haroon Rashid (accused). In his cross- examination by Ld. APP, he denied the suggestion that he worked at the shop of Nadeem in the year 2014.

    He further denied that he worked for four months at the shop of Nadeem and he paid Rs.2,500/- per month. He denied the suggestion that his statement was recorded by the police truly, freely and without any presssure. He further denied the suggestion that he is not stating the truth deliberately as he has been won over by the accused. He denied the suggestion that he is not reciting the version of his previus statements as he had given to the police as he has been threatened by the accused for dire conseuqences on stating the truth before the Court.

    On seeing his statement Mark X recorded by the SDM, it is stated by him that he had signed on the document in blank condition, however, he does not know what was written in the same. In his cross-examination by Ld. Defence counsel it is stated by him that one day he went to a shop to purchase something in Zakhira where crowd was gathered. Certain police officials picked him from there and after 4-5 days they released him.

  2. This is an appeal under Section 14(A)(2) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the refusal of prayer of anticipatory bail vide order dated 05.07.2019 passed by learned Special Judge, SC/ST Act, Gaya in Kotwali P.S. Case No. 286 of 2019 registered under Sections 342, 370, 370(a), 374/34 of the Indian Penal Code, Section 14A of Child Adolescent Labour Act-1986 with Juvenile Justice Act and Section 3(1)(r)(s) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.(3)


In India, millions of children are forced into child labour due to poverty, high illiteracy rates due to lack of education, unemployment, overpopulation, etc.

As reported by Save the Children, children between the ages of 14–17 years engage in hazardous work and account for 62.8% of India's child labour workforce in which more boys than girls (38.7 million vs. 8.8 million) are forced into doing more hazardous work.[86] Child labour used to be most ubiquitous in rural India in which 80% of working children found work.[87]

Recently, however, child labour has relocated from rural areas to urbanized areas where the big cities are located. Larger cities provide more opportunity for work compared to smaller, rural areas. As reported by UNICEF, there has been a 54% increase in child labor in urbanized areas for children between the ages of 5-14.[88]

In addition, according to a Campaign Against Child Labour study, India has approximately 12 666 377 child laborers total. Uttar Pradesh, a state in northern India, has 19,27,997 child labourers. Delhi, the capital of India, has over 1 million child labourers. Other leading states with similar figures include Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.[87]

According to 2005 Government of India NSSO (National Sample Survey Org.), child labour incidence rates in India is highest among Muslim Indians, about 40% higher than Hindu Indians. Child labour was found to be present in other minority religions of India but at significantly lower rates.

Across caste classification, the children had child labour incidence rates of 2.8%, statistically similar to the nationwide average of 2.74%. Tribal populations, however, had higher child labour rates at 3.8%.[89] India has the highest number of children stunted because of malnutrition (48.2 million) equivalent to Colombia's population, according to Save the Children's 'Stolen Childhoods' report.31 million of children are part of India's workforce, the highest in the world.(4)

Conclusion:
Child labor is an issue in our modern day world that not only harshly ravages the lives of millions of innocent children, but also affects all of us through its effects on the economy, family, and trade along with its connections to poor education and poverty.

Letting this horrific and inhumane practice go on for so long has brought on an unexpected problem that we must solve together in order to protect our children and safeguard our future. Although some may disagree, child labor is without a doubt a prevalent issue, so we must all help in any way we can in order to end this abomination once and for all(5)

Footnotes:

  1. internet
  2. juvenil justice act
  3. indian kanoon
  4. book
  5. Self.

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