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Friday, 14 March 2014

Child Labor in India: Where Have We Failed?

“They began work at 5:30 and quit at 7 at night. Children 6 years old going home to lie on a straw pallet until time to resume work the next morning, I have seen the hair torn out of their heads by the machinery, their scalps torn off, and yet not a single tear was shed, while the poodle dogs were loved and caressed and carried to the seashore.”                                                          -Mother Jones

In spite of the massive sensitization drives and numerous welfare policies, legislative bills, administrative actions and legal remedies, a large number of children continue to remain in distress and have been spending their lives in turmoil. Today 27% of the total population of India is below 14 years of age, millions of children are forced by the economic considerations to join the labor force. According to a survey report of International Labor Organization (ILO), India has the largest number of child laborers in the age group of 10-14 years, followed by Bangladesh on the 2nd position and Pakistan on the 3rd. The number of children employed in various industries, less than 14 years of age was 17 million which comprised of 9.5 million males and 7.5 million females, according to a statement given by Union Law Minister in Upper House of the Parliament on March 20th, 1995, thus it could be well ascertained that every 8th child in India is a worker.
Children who work in these industries are exposed to hazardous work conditions and paid a pittance for their long hours of work, ultimately suffering wage exploitation too. Notwithstanding with the ambit of Indian Constitution, the employers surpass the guidelines enshrined with respect to child labor, as it maintains that:
1.    No child below the age of 14 shall be employed to work in any factory or in any hazardous employment (Article 24).
2.    Childhood and Youth are to be protected against exploitation and against moral and material abandonment (Article 39(f)).
3.    The state shall endeavor to provide within a period of 10 years from commencement of Constitution free and compulsory education for all children until they complete age of 14 years (Article 45).

A research study of UNICEF reveals that there are more than 1 lac child laborers in the age group of 5-15 in the carpet industry of Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, the Glass industry at Firozabad houses 50,000 child laborers, and another 50,000 are accommodated in the Zari-Zardozi industry in Lucknow, the capital of state of Uttar Pradesh. The Lock industry of Aligarh employs approximately 10,000 children as labour, needless to add that the city is home to the legendary Aligarh Muslim University and is known by the name of Mecca of education. Meanwhile the brass industry of Moradabad in the same state has 30,000 child laborers. 79% of the working children are from rural areas and the remaining come from the urban poor segment of the society. Children working in these settings are exposed to the common risk of abuse, in some cases sexual abuse too. Hence an evil leads to another evil subsequently and makes mockery of the law we have framed to put a check on such acts, in order to achieve the goal of controlling crime against children, it is necessary that we should be eradicating the evil of child labor, so that every child has a chance to become the light of the world.


  1. I have become so ignorant and cold hearted that now I don't care about my country's children anymore.... Look at me ....I am the same who shout ... I am a proud Indian.....

  2. In my strongest opinion only a harshest punishment for people who are involved in child labour along with the effective govt. policy to provide education, food and shelter to needful children will help in eradication of this evil of the society.....

  3. Education for Every Child is compulsory. Stop Child Laboring please.

  4. They are the mad people who hire children to work... We have to Punish them.