Sunday, April 19, 2015


 Menace of the child labor engulfs entire world. The developed, the developing and the underdeveloped nations  feel the pain of this thorn alike. Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela said “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
 Children of any nation are its future citizens. Wholesome development of its children should be the utmost priority of any nation. Unfortunately in 2012, there were about 168 million child laborers in the world. They are denied the chance to be children.
Among them, about 85 million children worldwide are engaged in hazardous work.
Poverty, lack of social security for parents and inefficiencies of law force the children to work. Debt, bloated military budgets and structural reform programs imposed by IMF (International Monetary Fund) are also contributing factors eroding capacities of many governments to provide for education and other services for their children besides pushing inflation.
 India is no exception. Let me share with you my thoughts on strategies India can consider on the issue, which I developed while preparing a class assignment in another subject.
India, an IT giant and world’s second fastest growing economy, is, sadly, also the home to the largest number of child laborers in the world. As per national Census 2011, India has 10.12 million child laborers between 5 to 14 years of age. UNICEF pegs this figure to 28 million. Many child labor cases go unreported.  As per one Government of India estimate, 42% of India’s work force consists of children below the age of 5 to 14 years.

 On the eve of world Day against Child Labor on 12th June, India  may take following measures to show their commitment to elimination of child labor:
 1. Enact Law on Minimum Age for Work:  Pass the pending legislation to prohibit                work by children under the age of 14 years which was introduced in Indian Parliament in 2012, to bring it in conformity with “Right to Education Act 2006” envisioning free and compulsory education to children below 14 years of age.
 2. Increase Minimum Age for Hazardous Work: from existing 14 years to 18 years by amending Indian Factories Act 1948 to bring it at par with international standards to ensure children below 18 years of age cannot be employed in hazardous industries.
 3. Expand List of Hazardous Works: More than 60% of child laborers in India work in agriculture sector. Include Agriculture in the list of hazardous works for children so that employment of children below 18 years of age in agriculture becomes illegal and punishable by law.
 4. Speedily Implement National Food Security Act 2013: which aims at eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by ensuring food and nutritional security to poor covering 75% of rural population and 50% of urban population. It would uphold Indian children’s right to adequate food.
 5. Enforce Right to Education Act 2006: which ensures free and compulsory education to children. It would be first step towards economic development of children through education and freedom from child labor.
 6. Improve Governmental Inefficiencies: Poor or non-implementation of child laws encourage child labor. Make law enforcement and justice dispensation system responsive to needs of children.
 7. Manage Media: Undertake nationwide public campaigns for awareness on child rights and child labor to discourage child employers and encourage public reaction against child labor.



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