Child Labour is a Crime
Despite strict laws making child labour a crime, it is still widely practised in India and many other countries around the world. Greedy and shady employers are also responsible for a lack of awareness of human rights and government policies among the poor.
Children are a cheap source of labour in certain mining operations and industries, and employers get away with it because of bureaucratic corruption. Low-income families may also disregard basic human rights and send their children to work to earn extra money. It is a systemic issue that must be resolved by addressing issues at multiple levels.
However, in order to protect young children from such exploitation, the Indian government has enacted a set of penalties. Anyone who hires a child under the age of 14 or a child between the ages of 14 and 18 in a dangerous job faces imprisonment for a term of 6 months to 2 years and/or a monetary penalty ranging from Rs.20,000 to Rs.80,000.
Eradicating Child Labour
The abolition of child workers will necessitate the cooperation of many different segments of society. Government programmes and agents can only go so far with their efforts. Even when better opportunities are available, poor and uneducated families may be hesitant to abandon their old habits.
That is when ordinary citizens and volunteers must step up to help. NGOs supported by well-meaning citizens will be required to ensure that government policies are strictly regulated and that all forms of corrupt practices are exposed.
Education drives and workshops for the poorest segments of the economy are required to raise awareness. Parents must comprehend the long-term advantages of education for their children. It has the potential to improve people’s quality of life and help them get out of poverty.
The harmful effects of child labour on children’s mental and physical health must be taught in workshops. Government petitions can also encourage younger children to attend school by providing nutritious meals and other benefits.
Family planning education is also important in helping to control the population. When low-income families have more children, they are more likely to send them to work to help support the family. Having fewer children indicates that they are valued, and parents prioritise their nutrition, education, and long-term well-being.
Having fewer children also makes them more valuable, and parents will not send their children to dangerous working environments where they risk permanent injury or death. The government should provide incentives to families with one or two children in order to encourage poorer families to have fewer children and reap the benefits while still providing a good life for their children.
The Child and Adolescent Labour Act of 1986, the Factories Act of 1948, the Mines Act of 1952, the Bonded Labour System Abolition Act, and the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 were all enacted by the Indian government to protect children’s rights.
Children under the age of fourteen could not be employed in hazardous occupations under the Child Labour Act (Prohibition and Regulation), 1986. This act also tries to regulate working conditions in the jobs it allows and emphasises health and safety standards.
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009 mandates free and compulsory education for all children aged 6 to 14. Free and compulsory education is an important human right guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which was signed by India in 1990, ratified by it in 1992 and came into force in 1994.
The Final Word
A country full of impoverished children cannot progress. It should be society’s and the government’s collective responsibility to provide these impoverished children with a healthy and conducive environment that will allow them to develop their innate abilities and skills effectively.