Child labour in IndiaFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaYoung boy stacking plates in BangaloreThe problem of child labour exploitation is a major challenge to the progress of developing countries. Childrenwork at the cost of their right to education which leaves them permanently trapped in the poverty cycle, withoutthe education and literacy required for better-paying jobs. This is particularly serious in India as it tops the listwith the highest number of child labourers in the world. The 2001 national census of India estimated the totalnumber of child labour, aged 5–14, to be at 17 million. Out of the 12.6 million ,0.12 million engages inhazardous job. However, according to informal labour force statistics, the problem seems to be more severethan reflected. Child labour is estimated to be as large as 60 million in India, as many children are "hiddenworkers" working in homes or in the underground economy. In the long run, this phenomenon will evolve tobe both a social and an economic problem as economic disparities widen between the poor and educationallybackward states and that of the faster-growing states. India has the highest number of labourers in the worldunder 14 years of age. Although the Constitution of India guarantees free and compulsory education tochildren between the age of 6 to 14 and prohibits employment of children younger than 14 in any hazardousenvironment, child labour is prevalent in almost all informal sectors of the Indian economy.  Companiesincluding Gap, Primark, Monsanto etc. have been criticised for using child labour in either their operationsin India or by their suppliers in India. Contents [hide]
1 Causes2 Consequences of child labour o 2.1 Diamond industry o 2.2 Fireworks manufacture o 2.3 Silk manufacture o 2.4 Domestic labour o 2.5 Construction o 2.6 Brick kilns3 Initiatives against child labour o 3.1 Legislation o 3.2 Non-governmental organisations4 References5 External linksCausesMany Indian families send their children to work, with some living away from home. Reasons are oftenassociated with poverty, keeping up with the large-size family subsistence and inadequate public educationinfrastructure. Families generally are also unable to afford their children‟s education.“Families will have to go without their childrens income for several years, a choice many poor parents will beunable to make without help.” -BBC newsAttending school means forgoing a source of income for the family. This is a common problem, especially in thelow caste and minorities of India.The demand for child labour further aggravates the situation. Many manufacturing firms and sweatshops arestrategically located at poverty-stricken areas to attract children to work as labourers. One example is thetextile factory in Delhi where clothes for the International brand “GAP” were manufactured.In 2010Master ABHILASH rescued many children in andhra pradesh. With profit maximizing objectives, firms areincentivised to employ children rather than adults due to their cheaper wages, higher efficiency and mostimportantly, absence of union problems.[[File:Example.jpg ]]==Bonded child labour in India== The worst form of child labours would probably bebonded labour. It refers to children who are “sold” by their parents for a petty sum, a loan or to payoff debts. A form of long run employer-slave relationship is formed when these children are tied to this debtbondage to work for their employers for a time period that could be stretched to a lifetime, and usually it is for a
minimal or no wages. There has been no universally accepted number of bonded child labourers in India, butone estimate in 2000 shows that there were 15 million child labourers who were bonded. Bonded child labouris practiced widely across many parts of rural India and across multiple industries.Though bondage is illegal in India and initiatives have been taken to stop bonded child labours, little has beenachieved. Both Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 and Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act,1986, have done little to help the bonded child labourers as the employers tend to use the loopholes andambiguity in the act to their advantage. Also, there was a lack of will from the government to enforce theacts. Despite having large number of bonded labourers identified, very few employers got prosecuted andeven fewer got convicted. According to the Ministry of Labour‟s figures, between 2000 and 2002 in all ofIndia, there were only around 1800 bonded labourers being identified and released; and another around 17300bonded labourers rehabilitated. However, there was no data showing how many children labourers are amongthose being freed.Consequences of child labourIn general, the overall contribution of child labour in developing countries is so substantial that whether it wouldharm the economy is still under continuous debate.The presence of a large number of child labourers is regarded as a serious issue in terms of economic welfare.It is evident from India ranking at lowest quarter (122th) in World HDI (Human Development Index) rankings; inspite of its rapid economic growth. India compares very poorly against countries with high level of humandevelopment on all indicators such as life expectancy, education and per capita income. Bonded or not, whenchildren are working, they are put apart from the necessary education. Moreover, large number of low-paidChild labours lowers India‟s per capita income. Their hazardous working condition lowers India‟s welfare leveltoo. Furthermore, high illiteracy rate puts long-term economic growth at risk.Some suggest that child labour is necessary to some extent, as child labour takes large proportion of„Economically Active‟ population in the developing countries. When the state of Andhra Pradesh reduced thenumber of child labourers by close to 300,000. simultaneously it also saw the sharp decline in the staterevenue, which emphasized the importance of child labour to the Indian economy. At the end of the day, shortrun numerical GDP growth alone cannot determine overall GDP growth, when indicators like literacy level andhealth care should be taken into consideration too.To keep an economy prospering, a vital criteria is to have an educated workforce equipped with relevant skillsfor the needs of the industries. The young labourers today, will be part of India‟s human capital tomorrow. Childlabour undoubtedly results in a trade-off with human capital accumulation.
Child labour in India are employed with the majority (70%) in agricultural and the rest in low-skilled labour-intensive sectors such as sari weaving or as domestic helpers, which require neither formal education nortraining.According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), there are tremendous economic benefits fordeveloping nations by sending children to school instead of work. Without education, children do not gain thenecessary skills such as English literacy and technical aptitude that will increase their productivity to enablethem to secure higher-skilled jobs in future with higher wages that will lift them out of poverty.Diamond industryFurther information: Child labour in the diamond industry#IndiaIn 1997, the International Labour Organization published a report titled Child Labour in the DiamondIndustry, claiming that child labour is highly prevalent in the Indian diamond industry, as child labourersconstitute nearly 3% of the total workforce and the percentage of child labourers is as high as 25% in thediamond industry of Surat. The ICFTU further claimed that child labour was prospering in the diamond industryin Western India, where the majority of the worlds diamonds are cut and polished while workers are often paidonly a fraction of 1% of the value of the stones they cut. Pravin Nanavati, a Surat-based diamondbusinessman argued that, since high cost diamonds could easily be lost or broken while cutting or polishing,employing a child labourer would mean risking "lakhs of rupees" and “Around 8-10 years back, some westerncountries deliberately created the impression that child labour is prevalent in the Indian diamond industry" andcalled the boycottfor monopolising in the sector. The South Gujarat Diamond Workers Association secretaryMohan Dhabuwala, argued that while child labour is highly prevalent in the construction and hotel industries,there are few child labourers in the diamond industry of Surat, less than 1% according to their surveys, mainlybecause of stern punishments and penalties for violation of child labour laws.In 1998, Madhura Swaminathan from the Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research arguedthat economic growth in Western India was associated with an increase in the number of child workers over thelast 15 years and that children work at simple repetitive manual tasks that do not require long years of trainingor experience in low-paying hazardous works that involves drudgery and forecloses the option of schooleducation for most children.In 2005, an India-based management consultancy firm named A. F. Ferguson & Co., commissioned a studytitled Child Labour from Gem and Jewellery Industry "to spread awareness about child labor among the peopleconnected with the industry" that is conducted at 663 manufacturing units at 21 different locationsat Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, as a GJEPC initiative. On 12 February, thestudy is presented in a seminar held by the Gem & Jewelry Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) and the SuratDiamond Association, in Surat, India. The report argued that the use of child labour in India‟s diamondprocessing industry has been reduced from 0.55% 143 in 1998 to 0.31% in 2005 which is estimated to be less
than 1%, "while for the synthetic stone industry it is estimated to be two-thirds less". Gem& Jewellery ExportPromotion Council chairman Bakul Mehta, claimed that, "Some 500 diamond factory owners took an oath in thecity of Palanpur, Gujarat, (home town of leading Gujarati diamond merchants) not to employ children in theirfactories. Similarly, in Surat, 200 factory owners took the oath," and at GJEPC they, "Remain committed toeradicating child labor from the Indian diamond industry” arguing "...the gem and jewelry industry cannot eventhink of employing children, not only for moral reasons, but that a child could be injured while polishing orcutting the diamonds." Fireworks manufactureIt is estimated that around 135,000 children work in the Indian fireworks industry.The town of Sivakasi in South India is supposed to be the capital of child labour in fireworks manufacturesector. They mainly start work in April in preparation for the Hindu festival of Diwali. Children work daily forminimal wages, and with no firefighting safeguard in factories manufacturing fireworks.  An estimated 30people have died in two separate accidents in 2000. These child workers are usually forced to work after theirparents have accepted a cash advance of 1000-5000 rupees.Silk manufactureHuman Rights Watch estimates that at least 350,000 bonded children are employed by the silk industry inIndia. As per Human Rights Watch, children as young as five years old are employed and work for up to 12hours a day and six to seven days a week. Children are forced to dip their hands in scalding waterto palpate the cocoons and are often paid less than Rs 10 per day.Domestic labourOfficial estimates for child labour working as domestic labour and in restaurants is more than 2,500,000 whileNGOs estimate the figure to be around 20 million. The Government of India expanded the coverage of TheChild Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act and banned the employment of children as domestic workers andas workers in restaurants, dhabas, hotels, spas and resorts effective from 10 October 2006.ConstructionThe misuse of adult labour can be found in the construction industry too. Adults are found in construction ofboth home and office buildings. In 2011, for the construction of the Asian Games care house, the contractorshad employed adults, for they had to be paid more, making it a small issue.Brick kilnsEach year, thousands of children are rescued from brick kilns, working in awful conditions. Some of the childrenare actually sold to the brick kiln owners, and are not paid.Initiatives against child labour
A sign on a construction site in Bangalore banning child laborIn 1979, the Indian government formed the Gurupadswamy Committee to find about child labour and means totackle it. The Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act was not enacted based on the recommendations ofthe committee in 1986. A National Policy on Child Labour was formulated in 1987 to focus on rehabilitatingchildren working in hazardous occupations. The Ministry of Labour and Employment had implemented around100 industry-specific National Child Labour Projects to rehabilitate the child workers since 1988. Legislation This section does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (December 2011)Initiatives towards Elimination of Child Labour – Action Plan and Present StrategyThe problem of child labour continues to pose a challenge before the nation. Government has been takingvarious pro-active measures to tackle this problem. However, considering the magnitude and extent of theproblem and that it is essentially a socio-economic problem inextricably linked to poverty and illiteracy, itrequires concerted efforts from all sections of the society to make a dent in the problem.Way back in 1979, Government formed the first committee called Gurupadswamy Committee to study the issueof child labour and to suggest measures to tackle it. The Committee examined the problem in detail and madesome far-reaching recommendations. It observed that as long as poverty continued, it would be difficult tototally eliminate child labour and hence, any attempt to abolish it through legal recourse would not be apractical proposition. The Committee felt that in the circumstances, the only alternative left was to ban childlabour in hazardous areas and to regulate and ameliorate the conditions of work in other areas. Itrecommended that a multiple policy approach was required in dealing with the problems of working children.Based on the recommendations of Gurupadaswamy Committee, the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation)Act was enacted in 1986. The Act prohibits employment of children in certain specified hazardous occupationsand processes and regulates the working conditions in others. The list of hazardous occupations and
processes is progressively being expanded on the recommendation of Child Labour Technical AdvisoryCommittee constituted under the Act.In consonance with the above approach, a National Policy on Child Labour was formulated in 1987. The Policyseeks to adopt a gradual & sequential approach with a focus on rehabilitation of children working in hazardousoccupations & processes in the first instance. The Action Plan outlined in the Policy for tackling this problem isas follows:A Legislative Action Plan for strict enforcement of Child Labour Act and other labour laws to ensure thatchildren are not employed in hazardous employments, and that the working conditions of children working innon-hazardous areas are regulated in accordance with the provisions of the Child Labour Act. It also entailsfurther identification of additional occupations and processes, which are detrimental to the health and safety ofthe children.Focusing of General Developmental Programmes for Benefiting Child Labour - as poverty is the root cause ofchild labour, the action plan emphasizes the need to cover these children and their families also under variouspoverty alleviation and employment generation schemes of the Government.Project Based Plan of Action envisages starting of projects in areas of high concentration of child labour.Pursuant to this, in 1988, the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme was launched in 9 districts of highchild labour endemicity in the country. The Scheme envisages running of special schools for child labourwithdrawn from work. In the special schools, these children are provided formal/non-formal education alongwith vocational training, a stipend of Rs.100 per month, supplementary nutrition and regular health check upsso as to prepare them to join regular mainstream schools. Under the Scheme, funds are given to the DistrictCollectors for running special schools for child labour. Most of these schools are run by the NGOs in thedistrict.Government has accordingly been taking proactive steps to tackle this problem through strict enforcement oflegislative provisions along with simultaneous rehabilitative measures. State Governments, which are theappropriate implementing authorities, have been conducting regular inspections and raids to detect cases ofviolations. Since poverty is the root cause of this problem, and enforcement alone cannot help solve it,Government has been laying a lot of emphasis on the rehabilitation of these children and on improving theeconomic conditions of their families.Non-governmental organisationsMany NGOs like CARE India, Child Relief and You, Global march against child labor etc. have been working toeradicate child labour in India. In 2005, Pratham, an Indian NGO was involved in one of the biggest rescueoperations when around 500 child labourers were rescued from zari s