Child labour – An overview of its causes, consequences and necessary measures
Dr. P Chand Basha
The phenomenon of child labour is deep-rooted in socio-economic stratification, mass poverty, illiteracy and unemployment, particularly in tribal areas of the state. The child labour system is an age old phenomenon which retards the development of child due to early employment. Children are the greatest gift to humanity and the same gift is being misused for personal gains as child labour. They constitute 36% of India’s population but a large majority of children in the age group of 5-14 years continue to remain in distress and turmoil. Child labour is any kind of work children are made to do that harms or exploits them physically, mentally, morally, or by preventing access to education. However, all work is not bad or exploitive for children. In fact, certain jobs help in enhancing the overall personality of the child. For example, children delivering newspapers prior to going to school or taking up light summer jobs that do not interfere with their school timings. Due to acute poverty poor families residing in rural areas send their children to urban areas for bread and butter. In urban areas, to survive in a cutthroat competition, manufacturers have lowered the real wages for adult workers in order to employ child workers on low wages. The problem is very much vast in its dimension. Children are forced to work in the most hazardous, unhygienic conditions, where they are vulnerable to many severe health problems. Poverty is not the sole factor responsible for child labour. Other factors such as improper implementation of primary education system, poor schooling system, cheap labour, employer’s preferences, poor implementation of legislative measures, large family sizes and parent’s poor or no employment are the other main causes of child labour. Handling dangerous tools and machines, using pesticides etc. can cause physical causality and as well as many sever disease to the children. These days child abuse and harassment cases are also been seen with child labour. Child labour is an international evil. It requires cumulative efforts to wipe it out. Toiling long hours for a pittance, these little breadwinners accept exploitation as a way of life. The government on this front has also taken a few steps. The need of the hour is to expand the machinery for enforcing the various laws on child labour.