What is Child Labour ?
Child labour is the practice where children engage in economic activity, on
part or full-time basis. The practice deprives children of their childhood, and is
harmful to their physical and mental development. Poverty, lack of good
schools and growth of informal economy are considered as the important
causes of child labour in India.
According to United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF):
• Children 5 to 11 years of age, those who did at least one hour of economic
activity or at least 28 hours of domestic work during the week
• Children 12 to 14 years of age those who did at least 14 hours of economic
activity or at least 42 hours of economic activity and domestic work combined
during the week
Child labour is a complicated and ongoing issue in the present world.
According to the statistics given by International Labour Organization
(ILO) and other government agencies, more than 73 million children
between 10 to 14 years of age are considered as child labour.
Asian countries occupies distinctive place with 44.6 million child labour
followed by Africa with 23.6 million and Latin America with 5.1 million.
Child labour is wide spread in rich and industrialized economies than in
Nine out of ten village children are employed in agriculture or household
industries and craftwork.
To differentiate on the basis of gender, it is considered that more boys
are employed in laborious activities than girls and based on the fact that it
is difficult to take a count of girls working in households.
What are the Statistics of Child Labour in India?
• At present there are 17 million children labour in India.
• About 80% of child labour is engaged in agricultural work.
• Millions of children work to help their families because the adults do not have
appropriate employment and income thus forfeiting schooling and opportunities to
play and rest.
• 19% of children employed work as domestic help.
• 90% working children are in rural India.
• Children also work because there is demand for cheap
• Large numbers of children work because they do not have
access to good quality schools.
• Poor often “sell” their children to contractors who promise
profitable jobs in the cities and the children end up being
employed in hotels and domestic work.
• There are approximately 2 million child commercial sex
workers between the age of 5 and 15 years and about 3.3
million between 15 and 18 years.
• 500,000 children are forced into this trade every year.
Lack of elementary education at the primary level
Ineffective implementation of child labor laws
Non availability of schools in rural areas
Lack of proper guidance
Illiterate and ignorant parents
Availability of child labour at cheap rates
Adult exploitation of children
of India has taken major initiatives to
eradicate the child labour by passing special legislations
and punishing the offenders.
Providing education to all the children is a long-term
answer to this social menace.
In 1979, the Indian government formed the
Gurupadswamy Committee to find about child labour and
means to tackle it.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment had
implemented around 100 industry-specific National Child
Labour Projects to help back to normal life after
imprisonment the child workers since 1988.
Many NGOs like Bachpan Bachao Andolan,
CARE India, Child Rights and You,
Global march against child labor, RIDE India etc.
have been working to eradicate child labour in India.
Pratham is India's largest non-governmental
organization with the mission 'every child in school
and learning well.
In 2005, Pratham was involved in coordinating a
child labour rescue operation with India's Ministry of
Labour and police, when around 500 children were
rescued from zari sweatshops in New Delhi.
• Children [Pledging of Labour] Act (1933)
• Employment of Children Act (1938)
• The Bombay Shop and Establishments Act (1948)
• Child Labour -Prohibition and Regulation Act
• The Indian Factories Act (1948)
• Plantations Labour Act (1951)
• The Mines Act (1952)
• Merchant Shipping Act (1958)
• The Motor Transport Workers Act (1961)
• The Atomic Energy Act (1962)
• State Shops and Establishments Act