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India’s continuing struggle with child labour

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Janci Rani

BENGALURU: The year 2014 was crucial for India -Kailash Satyarthi, a passionate Indian activist fighting against bonded child labour, shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Malala Yousafzai. However, three years after such internationally recognized efforts by the likes of the Nobel laureate, India is still under the grips of the vile bonded child labor.

Child labour in India is dated back to the period of British. The introduction of British administration in India resulted poverty, this major effect made the parents force their children into labour. This social evil started to grow fast in india, and is still prevailing even today.

Presentation1nnThe future of the country is burdened with heavy chores.      PHOTO-TOI

International Labour Organization (ILO) defines the term ‘child labor’ as that work which deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity and it is harmful to their health. Some child activists argue that those children who are not allowed to study in the schools are also supposed to be included as child labours, even if they are not involved in any works.

According to ILO report in 2015, hazardous work among adolescents aged 15 to 17 years of age, who are above the minimum working age in most countries but at the same time are still legally children, overlap the child labour and youth employment fields. Families living in the villages send their children to cities to get good wages to sustain their family.

Bosco is a private organisation working for the young at risk in the city of Bangalore since 1980. Fr Mathew Thomas, Executive Director of Bosco said, “We always aim to provide alternatives for children deprived of their childhood and enrich them with the best as they may come out with bright future.”

“Poverty and violence in the family would drive the children out of their homes. Children are made to work indoors so they are not really visible to the public eye. The conditions in which children work is completely unregulated and they are often made to work without food and very low wages, resembling situations of slavery.

Child labour is cheap in India, henceforth a lot of children are employed in India. There are some wonderful schemes adopted by the government but we are failing to deliver the same to these children. Many organization have come into existence to solve the problem of child labour. There are cases of physical, sexual and emotional abuse of child domestic workers, paving way to prostitution. We are also working towards mass rescue, later identify their problems and enforce our work and programme according to the state policies.’’he added.

According to HAQ  Centre for child rights report 2016, child labour is highest among the OBC, Muslims, Schedule castes and Scheduled tribes. Bonded child labour in the  rural areas is still a raging phenomenon and very cleverly hidden from any legal or prying eyes.

 Mrs.Lakshmi Devi , Deputy Director of Women and Child Rights Department, Government of Karnataka said, “First and foremost, the community of child labour require protection. It should be brought to the notice of the government organization. Generally the organization adopts children rescued from child labour. With their parents permission, the child is taken care of and admitted to a school under the protection of the organization. These children are taken care of and given formal education up to 18 years of age.” “Apart from formal education skill technical training  is also given to the students with higher education,”  she added.

Along with Child Protection Unit in Child Rights Department, so many people try to help young girls get education both through organized NGO and through personal efforts. Vidyaranya is a non- profit, non political and secular development organization which identify all children in need of care and protection particularly beggars, street and working children, rag pickers, small vendors, street performers, orphaned, deserted, trafficked and runaway children and provide all the facilities to those children. Recently a 11 year old girl child labour was rescued by Vidyaranya organization.

She has 2 elder sisters, 2 younger sisters and 1 younger brother. Her parents are illiterate and don’t  know how to read and write hence she was sent out to work by her parents. Her father sells snacks at the railway station and her mother is a daily wage earner.   Her grandmother left her at  the railway station and promised her that she would be back within 10 minutes and she did not return.

Nirmala (name changed on the request of the guardian) is the daughter of Perumal and Mala. She has 1 elder brother. Her father is an alcoholic and never takes care of his children. He used to torture her mother for dowry. He deserted his wife and children, left home with his son and married another woman. The economic status of the family is very low. They do not have any other source of earning. Now her mother works in a garment factory. Her mother cannot provide proper food or education to her daughter. Nirmala was referred by one of our Rainbow staff and got admitted in our home. Now she is happy and looking for her bright carrier. Give the quote

Dr Sripad S.B, Joint Labour Commissioner said, “We are working towards stopping child labour. We will support child workers because they have to get educated to have a bright future. Our motto is for them to grow into great personalities. Therefore, we are fighting to do away with child labour. Various activist are also aiding us to achieve this goal.”


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