Child Labour in India

1 min read
Child Labour in India Blog Image

What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in news?
  • What is Child Labour?
  • What are the steps taken by India to eliminate child labour?

Why in news?

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) said it issued directions to political parties to refrain from using children in election campaigns.
  • The ECI asked parties to adhere to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and a Bombay High Court order of August 4, 2014.
    • The Bombay High Court, in August 2014, emphasised the need to ensure that parties do not allow children to participate in election-related activities.

What is Child Labour?

  • About
    • According to the ILO, child labour includes any work that deprives children of their childhood, potential and dignity, physical or mental development.
    • It perpetuates the vicious cycle of poverty (due to poor education-health, less economic opportunities), denying children their fundamental rights and a better future.
  • Constitutional provision in India
    • Article 24 of the Constitution of India prohibits employment of children below the age of 14 years in any factory or mine or in any hazardous employment.
  • Prevalence of child labour in India
    • According to the International Labour Organization, India has the highest number of child laborers in the 5-17 age range in South Asia.
    • In rural areas, 13.9% of children are involved in child labor, compared to 4.7% in urban areas.
    • 70% of child laborers are in agriculture, 20% in services, and 10% in industry.
    • As per census 2011, 10.1 million children, or 3.9% of the total child population, are "main workers" or "marginal workers".
  • Reasons behind Child labour in India
    • Poverty and lack of social security are the main causes of child labour.
    • Entry of multi-national corporations into industry without proper mechanisms to hold them accountable has led to the use of child labour.
    • Lack of quality universal education has also contributed to children dropping out of school and entering the labour force.
    • Laws that are meant to protect children from hazardous labour are ineffective and not implemented correctly.
    • A growing phenomenon is using children as domestic workers in urban areas.
    • Rigid caste structure and associated socio-economiccondition is also one of the reasons for this.
      • According to many surveys, child labour is highest among schedule tribes, Muslims, schedule castes and OBC children.
  • India’s commitment to eliminate child labour
    • India resolves to eliminate child labour by 2025 as per -
      • The commitments made by the county after ratification of ILO conventions, and
      • The target stipulated in Sustainable Development Goal 8.7 to end all forms of child labour.

What are the steps taken by India to eliminate child labour?

  • The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and its 2016 amendment
    • The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, prevents children from partaking in certain employments and regulates the conditions of work for children in other fields.
    • In 2016, an amendment completely banned the employment of children below 14 years.
    • It also prohibits employment of adolescents (14-18 years) in hazardous occupations and processes.
  • Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2017
    • Government has framed the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2017.
    • This rule specifies the duties and responsibilities of State Governments and District Authorities.
  • PENCIL (Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour) platform
    • To ensure effective enforcement of the provisions of the Child Labour Act and smooth implementation of the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme a separate online portal PENCIL has been developed.
      • Government had initiated the NCLP Scheme in 1988 to rehabilitate working children in 12 child labour endemic districts of the country.
      • Under this Scheme, the children in the age group of 9-14 years are withdrawn from work and put into NCLP Special Training Centres.
      • Here they are provided with bridge education, vocational training, mid-day meal, stipend, health care etc. before being mainstreamed into formal education system.
    • The Portal connects Central Government to State Government(s), District(s) and all District Project Societies.
  • The Factories Act of 1948
    • This act prohibits the employment of children under 14 years old in factories.
  • Right to Education
    • The Right to Education Act was passed in 2009 to ensure that all children get an education in place of working.
    • There are several schools set up that impart free education to such children and also offer faculties such as textbooks, uniforms, and others for free.
  • Ratification of two core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on child labour
    • In 2017, India ratified two core conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on child labour:
      • Convention 138: On the minimum age of employment
      • Convention 182: On the worst forms of child labour

Q1) What is the International Labour Organization (ILO)?

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency that aims to promote social and economic justice. The ILO's mission is to promote internationally recognized human and labor rights, and to ensure that labor peace is essential to prosperity.

Q2) What is Article 24 of the Constitution of India?

Article 24 of the Constitution of India prohibits the employment of children under the age of 14 in factories, mines, and other hazardous occupations. The article also prohibits the employment of children in other hazardous activities, such as construction work or railway work. However, the article does not prohibit harmless work.

Source: Zero tolerance towards use of children in poll campaigns: ECI to political parties | Ministry of Labour and Employment | PIB