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Child labour


The term ‘Child Labour’ has nowhere been defined. All the national legislations and international instruments relating to the problem of Child and Child labour do not define the term, even the most comprehensive legislation namely “The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act-1986” does not define child labour. We can be aboe to get a comprehensive meaning if we separate the two words and go on to understand both the words i.e. ‘Child’ in terms of his chronological age and ‘labour’ can broadly be defined as that segment of child population which participates in work either paid or unpaid.”

Dr. J.C Kulshreshthra in his book ‘Child Labour in India’ opines that “Child labour in a restricted sense means the employment of child in gainful occupations which are dangerous to their health” and deny them the opportunities of development.The term child labour not only applies to the child working in the industries but also to the children in all forms of non-industrial occupations which are injurious to their physical, mental, moral and social development.” V.V. Giri is of the view that the term “Child labour is commonly interpreted in two different ways: First, as an economic practice practise and second a social evil. In the first context it signifies employment of children is gainful occupations with view to adding to the total income of the family. It is in the second sense that the term child labour is now more generally used. In assessing the nature and extent of social evil it is necessary to take danger to which they are exposed and the opportunities of development of which they have been denied.”

Dr. J.C. Kulshreshtha who points out the following are the reasons of failure of the legislations to check the child labour. The reasons are (1) Poverty: (2) low wages of the adult: (3) unemployment: (4) absence of schemes for family allowance: (5) migration to urban areas; (6) large families; (7) children being cheaply available; (8) non-existence of provisions for compulsory education; (a) illiteracy and ignorance of parents and (10) traditional attitudes.

Girl Child Labour

The girl Childs mostly perform in the house hold works helping the senior members of the family in various works. Ordinary house hold work can never be considered as engagement of child labours, but the work load and the type of work mostly the girl child do beyond their capacity and strength denying them the education and other childhood joys, certainly can be attributed as exploitation even in their own houses. It is seen that the girls help the family in fetching water, firewood, livestock and even carry small loads either on their head or back from the markets besides looking after the younger siblings. Further, there is rampant practice of engaging girl child in the house based works such as rolling, beeding, in carpet industry, polishing of gems etc. in urban areas these girls are seen working as servants on low wages for long hours. These domestic servants are deprived of acquiring any skill and any kind of education rather they were forced to face physical and sexual exploitation.

Even it has been noticed that the girls are forced to earn by begging and practising prostitution.

Poverty, illiteracy, lack of education etc. are also mainly responsible for these girl Childs to resort to child labour. But the pity is that while they contribute to a great extent by engaging and spoiling their childhood, they are exploited to condition, long hours of work coupled with low wages add to their miseries. The work for which the girl child is engaged is considered a a valuable work, but the girl child who performs this valuable work has no value at all. Her contribution to the economy goes unnoticed, not acknowledged and recognised but they continue to work taking all the burden and become the victim of the socio-economic set up of the society.

Domestic Child Labour

Depending open the economic status of the family the children of the deprived class resort to various engagement and in urban centres their mostly identified as domestic workers. Majority of the children work in unorganized sector and in such other fields which can’t be easily accessed. But it is a fact that they constitute a significant figure. At some places it has been seen that most of the children take over the ‘family trade’ as most of the females of a family are working as servants or domestic labourers and the children of these families are induced to take up this trade.

The children who work as domestic workers suffer from many ill effects. They lose their status in the families where they work along with their identity. Being deprived of parental care, nourishment and guidance, these children confine themselves to the houses where they work and they are forced to adapt to many situations and diversified activities and even are subject to physical and sexual abuse. In some instances they are even dined the basic requirements and are forced to lead a life different from others because of survival. In big cities including the metros, the plight of such children in worse. These children which affects their mental development. The same reasons, illiteracy, poverty, education and economic necessary of the family are attributed as the causes of practising such activities, even with low wages, torture and exploitation.

Other kinds of child labour

There are instances of children working in conditions of servitude where they are forced to worked to pay off a debt taken by their parents which is similar to bonded labours. The street children work as beggars, against of various groups working of small time shops and establishment and are ready to do any work at any point of time. Some of these children also are picked up by gangsters to carry on their business and a slight mistake or deviation results in the death of such children.

The Child Labour (Prohibitin & Regulation) Act 1986

Ministry of Women & Child Development Government of India.

Women & Child Development Department Government of Odisha.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights