Children in Indian culture have consistently been a theme, less spoken or talked about. Children in each general public have consistently been taken as the best blessing to humankind. Youth is a significant phase of human advancement as it holds the possibility of the future improvement of any general public. Children who are raised in a climate, which is useful to their scholarly person, physical and social improvement proceed to be a capable and profitable aspect of the general public. And if we connect these children in work when they are excessively young for the undertaking then we are destroying their present as well as future. The expression “child labour” is frequently characterized as work that denies children of their childhood, their latent capacity and their poise, and that is hurtful to the physical and mental turn of events.
In truth, child labour is a revile upon the general public, disfavour for the universe of humankind, a disease that may wreck the monetary spine of a nation. Most importantly, it is a disrespect for the improvement of entire human progress. As per Census 2011, the quantity of child labour in India is 10.1 million of which 5.6 million are boys and 4.5 million are girls. An aggregate of 152 million children – 64 million girls and 88 million boys– are assessed to be in child labour universally, representing right around one out of ten of all children around the world.
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The Factory Act of 1948, makes use of 3 different concepts to classify the workers, viz, a ‘child’, a ‘young person’ or an ‘adolescent’, and an ‘adult’. It has been made explicit in this Act that a person below the age of 15 years is to be regarded as a child, therefore, any physical labour undertaken by a child of below 15 years either under compulsion or voluntarily in an organized or unorganized sector, qualifies to be called as child labour.
CAUSES OF CHILD LABOUR
The link between poverty and child labour dominates argument that whether poverty causes child labour or child labour causes poverty? There is no specific answer to this question, as poverty is both the result and cause of ‘child labour’, mainly in poor countries.
As in poor countries, firstly, there are households that are in extreme poverty, and secondly, they form a socio-economic pattern that causes child labour.
Child labour is a common problem in overpopulated countries. Due to the rapid growth of population, unemployment also increases that causes growth in child labour. As the resources are limited in that case child labour is a cheap source of labour that is employed in different sectors.
LACK OF EDUCATION
Lack of education among the less fortunate segments of society is, likewise, a main source for children to begin working early. Oblivious and ignorant individuals don’t mull over connecting with their child in difficult work, since they don’t know about the destructive physical and mental injury it can deliver on the kid.
HIGH COST OF EDUCATION
Guardians’, who live in miserable neediness, priority is giving food to the family since education is too costly to even think about affording particularly when there are numerous kids to pay school charges for. Rather than letting kids remain at home in light of the fact that there is an absence of cash to send them to class, guardians select to make them fill in as incompetent workers to help uphold the family.
LACK OF SOCIAL AWARENESS
Due to a lack of social awareness in guardians, they don’t send their children to get an education. Subsequently, their children are caught in child labour. Because of ignorance, ordinarily, guardians don’t know about different data and plans for child education. Absence of instruction, ignorance and thusly the absence of consciousness of their privileges among them have supported child labour.
CONSEQUENCES OF CHILD LABOUR
By being at home we cannot imagine the condition of these child workers. They, at a very small age, start to work in such places that are dangerous even for adults. These types of work have a negative impact on the health of the child.
Childhood is such a growing stage for a child at that period they grow strong, confident with the support of their families but if their family itself sends them into the hell of child labouring, then that affects a child not only physically but also mentally.
One of the major drawbacks of child labour is that, as the child is engaged in work he does not have time to go to school and that affects his future. As these children are the future of the country and if they do not receive proper education then not only their future but the country’s future will also be in dark.
INTERNATIONAL LAWS FOR CHILD LABOUR
DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD
The Declaration of the Rights of the Child expands upon the rights that had been described in a League of Nations’ Declaration of 1924. As stated in the preamble “the children need extra care, support and legal security before and after birth.” It reiterates the 1924 Declaration’s pledge that “mankind owes to the child the best it has to give,” and specifically calls upon voluntary organizations and local authorities to strive for the observance of children’s rights.
U.N CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF CHILD
The Convention on the Rights of Child is one of the most far-reaching documents on the rights of a child. The UNCRC is an agreement that lays out civil, social, economic, political and cultural rights of every child. The UNCRC agreement has 54 articles in it that lay out a child’s rights and what steps governments can take regarding them.
MINIMUM AGE CONVENTION
This convention lays out a minimum age for employment, as to achieve their goal to abolish child labour, and so, each state party has to make effective provisions regarding the abolition of child labour and set a minimum age for employment.
INDIAN LAWS REGARDING CHILD LABOUR
Child labour is such a shameful issue. Countries all over the world have denounced child labour as a social evil and it destroys the capabilities of the future generations in society. Many countries have made provisions and passed many Acts to eradicate this problem.
- The Child Labour (Prohibition And Regulation) Act, 1986
This Act proposes to ban employment of children who are below 14 years of age in all sectors and prohibits employment of adolescents in any hazardous place. Under section 7 of the act a child should not work between 7 pm to 8 am, and also the child should not work overtime. It said that a child shall not work for more than 3 hours before an hour internal. Section 14 states that if any person employs any child in any hazardous place then he shall be punished with imprisonment, from 6 months to 2 years and fine that has been increased from Rs. 20000 to 50000 . Any person or police officer can file a complaint against such offence. This act provides “Child Labour Technical Advisory Committee” for the addition of any occupation or process of the schedule. Three months prior notice should be given to the central government before adding any new occupation.
- The Factories Act, 1948
The Factories Act also prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years. According to Section 22 of the Act, no children shall be allowed to clean or adjust any part of the machine that is dangerous and that may cause injury to them. And also, the adolescents between 15 to 18 years are considered as an adult for purposes of other provisions of the Factories Act, if they have a certificate from a certifying surgeon. Any person who employs any child shall be punished with imprisonment of 3 months and fine up to Rs 500.
- The Mines Act
The provisions in the Mines Act are little more rigid than the Factories Act, under this Act, no child is allowed to work in mines who is below the age of 16 years. Under section 40 of the act an adolescent who is between 16 to 18 years of age can work in mines if they have a medical certificate from a certified surgeon and then even they are not allowed to work at night. Any person who employs any child shall be punished with imprisonment of 3 months and fine up to Rs 1000 under section 68 of the Act.
The government and international organizations play an important role regarding the policies they make to eradicate child labour. International organizations can dialogue with national governments to take actions against child labour. The fact is that child labour is a sinful act, but that can be eradicated by not only legislators but also by common people. We cannot say that an individual is capable on its own to stop this but we also cannot dismiss any action as being too small but by being together we can resolve this problem.
 Tapan Kumar Shandilya, Shakeel Ahmad Khan, Child Labour A Global Challenge ( Deep & Deep publications, New Delhi, 2003).
 Geraldine Van Bueren, The International Law On The Rights Of The Child (Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, London, 1995).
 The convention on the rights of the child, adopted by the UN general assembly on 20 November, 1989.
 supra note 1.
BY ANJALI BILGAIYAN | IIL, INDORE