Child labour takes place when children are forced to work at an age when they are expected to work, study and enjoy their phase of innocence. It implies lost or deprived childhood that leads to exploitation of children in various forms: mental, physical, social, sexual and so on.
The society, voluntary organisations and law-makers have an obligation to put an end to the evil practice of child labour in India. Here we are providing you some useful articles on child labour under various categories according to varying words limits. You can choose any of them as per your need:
Child Labour Articles
Article on Child Labour 1 (300 words)
Not all children in India are lucky to enjoy their childhood. Many of them are forced to work under inhuman conditions where their miseries know no end. Though there are laws banning child labour, still children continue to be exploited as cheap labour. It is because the authorities are unable to implement the laws meant to protect children from being engaged as labourers.
Unfortunately, the actual number of child labourers in India goes un-detected. Children are forced to work is completely unregulated condition without adequate food, proper wages, and rest. They are subjected to physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
Causes of Child Labour: Factors such as poverty, lack of social security, the increasing gap between the rich and the poor have adversely affected children more than any other group. We have failed to provide universal education, which results in children dropping out of school and entering the labour force. Loss of jobs of parents in a slowdown, farmers’ suicide, armed conflicts and high costs of healthcare are other factors contributing to child labour.
A widespread problem: Due to high poverty and poor schooling opportunities, child labour is quite prevalent in India. Child labour is found in rural as well as urban areas. The 2001 census found an increase in the number of child labourers from 11.28 million in 1991 to 12.59 million. Children comprise 40% of the labour in the precious stone cutting sector. They are also employed in other industries such as mining, zari and embroidery, dhabas, tea stalls and restaurants and in homes as domestic labour.
Conclusion: Government authorities and civil society organisations need to work in tandem to free children engaged in labour under abysmal conditions. They need to be rescued from exploitative working conditions and supported with adequate education. Above all, there is a need to mobilize public opinion with an aim to bring about an effective policy initiative to abolish child labour in all its forms.
Article on Child Labour 2 (500 words)
A large number of children in India are quite strangers to the joys and innocence of the formative years of their lives. Instead of enjoying their early steps on their life’s journey, they are forced to work under conditions of slavery. Child labour persists due to the inefficiency of law, administrative system and exploitative tendencies on the part of employers.
Children are employed illegally in various industries. But agriculture is the largest sector where children work at early ages to contribute to their family income. Rural areas employ 85 percent of the child labour in India. They are forced to work at young ages due to factors such as poverty, unemployment, a large family size, and lack of proper education.
Backgrounder to child labour: In British India, a large number of children were forced into labour due to the increasing need of cheap labour to produce a large number of goods. The companies preferred recruiting children as they could be employed for less pay, better utilised in factory environment, lacked knowledge of their basic rights, and possessed higher trust levels.
The practice of child labour continued even in the post-Independence India, though the government continued to take legislative measures against child labour. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights passed in 1948 incorporated the basic human rights and needs of children for proper progression and growth in their younger years. Article 24 of the Constitution bans engagement of children below the age of 14 in factories, mines, and other hazardous employment. Article 21A and Article 45 promise to impart free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of 6 and 14. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act enacted in 1986, prohibited children younger than the age of 14, from being employed as child labour in hazardous occupations. Significantly in 2009, India passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE). More recently, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016, passed by Parliament, prohibits “the engagement of children in all occupations and of adolescents in hazardous occupations and processes”. Here adolescents refers to those under 18 years; children to those under 14. The Act also imposes a stringent penalty on anyone who employs or permits adolescents to work.
Nevertheless, child labour has now led to alarming proportions. As per an estimate, India contributes to one-third of Asia’s child labour and one-fourth of the world’s child labour.
Prevalence of child labour: Child labour in India is now not confined to the agricultural sector. In recent times, children are engaged into activities such as beedi-making, brick kilns, carpet weaving, commercial sexual exploitation, construction, fireworks and matches factories, dhabas, hotels, hybrid cottonseed production, leather, mines, quarries, silk, synthetic gems, etc.
Conclusion: The government should bring down the incidence of child labour through reform and investment in education. Mid-day meals should be re-emphasised; homeless children should be provided housing through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan boarding schools, and laws banning child labour should be more strictly enforced.
Article on Child Labour 3 (600 words)
Despite constitutional provisions against child labour, a large number of children continue to be exploited under hazardous work conditions. Poorly paid for long hours of work, they have to abandon their studies to support their family at an age when they are supposed to just play around and have fun. They are made to forego all the joys of childhood by a cruel and ruthless world.
Widespread prevalence of child labour: Rural areas employ the largest number of child labour. In urban areas, they work in dhabas, tea-stalls and restaurants, and households. They are shamelessly exploited in the unorganized sector as domestic servants, hawkers, rag-pickers, paper vendors, agricultural labourers, and as workers in industrial concerns.
Some of the industries that employ children as labourers include match industry in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu; glass industry in Firozabad, brassware industry in Moradabad and the handmade carpet industry in Mirzapur-Bhadoi, precious stone polishing industry in Jaipur, Rajasthan; lock making industry in Aligarh; slate industry in Markapur, Andhra Pradesh, and slate industry in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh.
Bonded child labour: Sometimes, children are employed against a loan or debt or social obligation by the family of the child. Generally, they are forced to work assisting their families in agricultural sector, brick kilns, and stone quarries. In urban areas, children of migrant workers mostly belonging to low caste groups such as dalits or marginalised tribal sections are pledged to work in small production houses and factories. Bonded child labourers are particularly subjected to mental, physical and sexual abuse, sometimes even leading to death. In Orissa, people sell daughters, eight to 10 years old, as maid servants to the creditor in order to clear their debt.
Causes of Child Labour: Child labour is inevitable in a country like India where over 40 per cent of the population lives in conditions of extreme poverty. The children have to supplement their parents’ income or in some cases, they are the only wage earners in the family.
Another reason is that vested interests deliberately create child labour to get cheap labour as a factory hand, a domestic servant or a shop assistant.
The state of Child Labourers: Children often work in dangerously polluted factories. They work for 9 to 10 hours at a stretch including night shifts. No wonder that a large number of child workers have sunken chests and thin bone frames which give them a fragile look. They are made to work in small rooms under inhuman conditions which include unhygienic surroundings. Most of these children come from extremely poor households. They are either school drop-outs or those who have not seen any school at all.
Child labourers run the risk of contracting various diseases. They are vulnerable to exploitation by all. There is no strict enforcement of laws against child labour, so, employers continue to circumvent the provisions of the law in the full knowledge that the child workers themselves will not dare to expose them.
Conclusion: The authorities should incorporate a provision for surprise checks and establish a separate vigilance cell. Employers should compulsorily take steps for the intellectual, vocational and educational well-being and upliftment of a child worker.
We need policies which try to alleviate poverty and inequality as they can have a significant and decisive impact on economic conditions and social structures that have a bearing on child labour. Such initiatives may incorporate agrarian reforms, employment-generation programmes, use of improved technology among the poor, promotion of the informal sector and creation of cooperatives and social security schemes. Also required is effective enforcement machinery to punish the violators of laws. Labour-inspection and related services need to be strengthened.
Article on Child Labour 4 (800 words)
Child labourers have to toil long hours to eke out a living for themselves and support their families. Exploitation becomes a way of life for them and becomes very harmful to their physical and mental development. They are forced to inhabit an adult world, shoulder adult responsibilities, and suffer extreme exploitation.
Despite legislation banning child labour, it has not been possible to completely stop the practice of hiring children as labour across the world. India is no exception to employment of children as labour; rather the country employs the largest number of child labourers in the world.
Causes of Child Labour: Poverty, social inequality and lack of education are among is the main cause of child labour. According to a UNICEF report, in rural and impoverished parts of the world, children have no real and meaningful alternative as schools and teachers are not available. Many communities, particularly rural areas do not have adequate school facilities, even the availability and quality of schools is very low.
Also, the low paying informal economy thrives upon the low cost, easy to hire, easy to dismiss labour in the form of child labour. After the unorganised agriculture sector which employs 60% of child labour, children are employed in unorganised trade, unorganised assembly and unorganised retail work. Other contributory factors to child labour include inflexibility and structure of India’s labour market, size of informal economy, inability of industries to scale up and lack of modern manufacturing technologies.
Bonded child labour in India: Under this system, the child, or usually child’s parent enter into an agreement, wherein the child performs work as in-kind repayment of credit. Though India passed the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act of 1976 prohibiting solicitation or use of bonded labour including children, the practice of bonded child labour has not ceased.
Consequences of Child Labour: Child labour inflicts damage to a child’s physical and mental health. A child labourer has no basic rights to education, development, and freedom. Children employed as labourers work in unsafe environments where there is a constant danger of fatal accidents. They are forced to lead a life of poverty, illiteracy, and deprivation. They are required to perform gruelling and physically demanding tasks and in return receive only meagre wages. Poor working conditions cause severe health problems to such children. A child labourer not just suffers physical and mental torture but also becomes mentally and emotionally mature too fast which is never a good sign.
Various laws but no implementation: Apart from the enactment of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, the Indian Constitution has incorporated various provisions against child labour such as the following:
- According to Article 24, no child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or in any hazardous employment (but not in non-hazardous industries).
- As per Article 39(f)), childhood and youth are to be protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.
- Article 45 stipulates that the state shall endeavour to provide within a period of 10 years from the commencement of the Constitution free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14 years.
The Factories Act of 1948 prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years in any factory. The Mines Act of 1952 prohibits the employment of children below 18 years of age in a mine. Also, various laws and the Indian Penal Code, such as the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act-2000, and the Child Labour (Prohibition and Abolition) Act-1986 seek to prevent the practice of child labour in India. Unfortunately, these laws and regulations have not been backed by effective and proper implementation and enforcement.
Conclusion: Collective efforts are needed on the part of society and the government to put an end to the practice of child labour. In fact, every citizen should take a pledge to never employ child labourer, rather discourage others too from doing so. We should create awareness amongst people employing child labourers and the parents sending their children to work. We need to provide our children a happy childhood where they are able to enjoy the best period of their lives with a merry and carefree attitude. The government should make efforts to increase the incomes of parents by launching various development schemes. Efforts should be made towards poverty eradication combined with educational reforms to provide free or affordable access to quality education. Only by taking comprehensive steps, the Government can hope to eliminate all forms of child labour by 2020.