“There is always one moment in childhood where the door opens and lets the future in”. –Graham Greene This is true in the sense that childhood is special for everyone. What we are today is a reflection of what we learnt in our childhood. What we get in our childhood is what we spend today.
Child labour is the illegal employment of children below a certain age. The legal age of employment is different for different countries. In India, children below the age of fourteen should not be involved in any kind of labour. This is considered inhuman and exploitative. This is a human rights issue for the whole world.
Child labour is a big developmental issue for a country. Children are the future of a country. Involving them in activities like making crackers in factories, carpet weaving, etc. hampers the growth of the child as well as that of the country. With time, figures of child labour are increasing. According to the statistics given by Indian government, there are 20 million child labourers, but other agencies claim that there are 50 million children below the age of fourteen who are working.
These child labourers are made to work in various industries like carpet weaving, cracker making, agriculture, glass making, prostitution, construction and private businesses. We can see many children along the roadside, on railway platforms, in trains as sellers, cobblers, entertainers, etc.
There can be many causes why parents make their children to work. The first and the most important of all is poverty.
Poverty is one main reason that forces parents to send their children to work. In poor families, children act as earning hands to their parents. When there are more mouths to feed and there are no other means of survival, the parents force their children to work at cheap rates. Thus, we can state over population in a family is also a reason behind child labour.
Other causes that are involved are lack of education, social indifference, and parental illiteracy. Lack of education and exposure in India has resulted in many children working in factories at very cheap rates. This lack of education leads to ignorance in terms ill effects of child labour, non-implementation of various laws imposed by our government, non-availability of schools, no interest of children itself in studies.
Moreover, we can see a lot of girls below the age of fourteen working in houses as maids or full-time servants. This can be due to the reason that parents don’t want their daughters to be educated and consider them less capable than the boys.
Urbanisation has also caused child labour to become more common. Child labour in rural areas is available at very cheap rates and adult unemployment in poor families forces the parents to send their children to factories and hazardous jobs to earn for their families. Multinationals from outside the country when establish in India seek cheap and active labour rather than the old labour. Thus elders relax at home.
This prevents the growth or development of children in terms of social, physical, psychological, and other needs. As a result of this development of country is also affected. The children of a country are one of its important resources. If these resources are callously exploited and involved in activities like construction, fireworks making, etc. rather than making them study, it will automatically hamper the growth of a country.
A country, where adults relax and children with no education work for about 10-12 hours a day, can never grow.
The famous words of the poet William Wordsworth “Child is the father of man”, are true. The health of a nation is dependent on the children of the nation.
Child labour is a major social issue. Enforcement of the laws made by the Indian government is important. And this does not mean just stating these laws. The Indian Constitution clearly says that “No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in a factory or mine or employed in any hazardous job”. Now it is time for the government and other agencies to start their work of preventing children from working. Strict action should be taken against the employers and the parents as well. What we can do is spread awareness about the ill effects of child labour.