Written By: T. Eeshitha Rasamayi
All the work done by the children is not considered child labour. The child's participation affects their health and personal development, or if it does not interfere with the schooling, it is considered harmful. The activities such as assisting the family business or earning pocket money after school hours or during holidays are considered positive.
Child labour is defined as the work that deprives the children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to their physical or mental development or both. This refers to the work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful for the child or the work that interferes with the schooling which deprives them of the opportunity of going to school; obliges them to leave school, or requires them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
The work can be called child labour depending on the child's age, the type of work and hours of performance, the conditions and the objectives of the performed work.
Causes of child labour:
There are many other factors, including:
● Poverty and unemployment
● Inadequate or weak national educational systems
● Ingrained cultural traditions and attitudes surrounding child labour
● Violation of existing laws and regulations on child labour
● Inadequate enforcement of laws and regulations Civil or political unrest or natural disasters.
Child Labour in different sectors:
● Domestic work, also referred to as household work
● Factory work, predominantly in the garment and textile industry
● Industry and manufacturing ( which includes working in mining, quarrying and construction)
● Agriculture sector:
- livestock production
The worst forms of child labour are:
● Child trafficking
● Sexual exploitation (this also includes pornography and prostitution)
● Drug trafficking
● Debt bondage ( also known as bonded labour)
● Forced labour
● Organized child begging
Laws against child labour:
In the 20th-century, child labour became so prominent that news factory hazards and mishappenings taking innocent children's lives flashed in the newspapers. A need for the legislation and statutes were felt to prohibit the malpractice of child labour.
Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986:
Article 24 of the Indian constitution clearly states that "No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or employed in any dangerous employment." the child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986 designates a child as a person who has not completed their fourteenth year of age. It aims to control the hours and the working conditions of child workers and to ban them from being employed in dangerous industries.
Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016:
The Government has enacted the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016, which came into force on 1.9.2016. The amendment Act completely prohibits the employment of children below fourteen years. The amendment additionally prohibits the use of adolescents in the age group of fourteen to eighteen years in hazardous occupations and processes. It regulates their operating conditions where they are not prohibited. The amendment also provides stricter punishment for employers for violations of the Act. It makes the offence of using any child or adolescent in contravention of the Act by an employer cognizable.
In order to achieve effective enforcement of the Act's provisions, the amendment empowers the appropriate Government to confer such powers and impose such duties on the vicinity of a district as may be necessary. Further, the State Action plan has been circulated to all the States/UTs to ensure effective implementation of the Act.
Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Rule, 2017:
The Indian Government has notified the amendment in the child labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Central Rules when extensive consultation with the stakeholders. The rules offer a broad and specific framework for preventing, prohibiting, rescuing and rehabilitating child and adolescent workers. It additionally clarifies problems associated with serving in family and family enterprises; therefore, the definition of the family concerning specific provisions is incorporated into rules. Further, it additionally provides for safeguards for workers who have been permitted to work under the Act, in terms of hours of work and working conditions. the rules provide for specific provisions incorporating duties and responsibilities of enforcement agencies in order to ensure effective implementation and compliance with the provisions of the Act.
Provisions for child upliftment:
Right to education. This right shall be provided by the state free and compulsory education to all children between the age of 6 to 14 years in such a manner as the state by law may determine.
Article 24 talks about the Prohibition of the employment of children in factories. This Article ensures that no child below the age of 14 years shall be employed in any factory or mine or engaged in any other dangerous employment.
This Article ensures that the state shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not to be abused. The citizens are not forced by economic necessities to enter avocations unsuited to their age or strength.