In India there are about 12 crores children with working ability, below the age of 14. or these more than 17 million are employed in different concerns – as field labour, in cottage industry or trade of the family, and even in large-scale industry. but it has been laid down in the constitution of India that children should have to be given primary education, before all, – before they attain the age of fourteen.
Utter poverty and need for survival force children to take up employment. parents and guardians cannot feed and clothe them or provide them with shelter unless children also supplement the family income with their labour. this is a matter of disgrace that, instead of going to schools, they are forced to drudge (undertake dull manual labour) at the tender age. in every advanced country, children go around merrily, eating nutrias food and wearing neat clothes. how different is the scene presented by India today! the future of the country depends on children, they grow up as hopefuls.
As a matter of fact, child labour is the bane (curse) of industrial society. in the nineteenth century poets and authors of England lifted their voice in protest against this child labour. employers turn to tender-aged children as a child worker in rather easily available and are comparatively cheap. so children are recruited (taken in) as apprentices (learners) and helping hands and are always underpaid, in the absence of specific laws. hard labour and uncongenial (unfavorable) working conditions soon shatter their health and turn them, underlings, mentally and morally.
Unfortunately, awareness about this social scourge (injustice) is increasing though child labour is a raging (continuing overmuch) problem in all under-developed countries. an international commission on trade and labour standards especially branded (marked) India. so the child labour found has been created, for late eliminating child labour by the turn of the century. Indian carpets for foreign export are now to be clearly certified – “produced without using child labour”. public opinion is now very strong all over the world against exploitation of child labour. a proposal has been undertaken to raise a global found, of the order of Rs. 15,000/- crores, to abolish child labour. now a fuller co-operation between the government and industry is the foremost need. Sri Narasimha Rao, the present prime minister of India, has solemnly (with dignity and seriousness) declared –“child labour is a sad reality of our world. wherever it is practiced, it has to be eliminated. inducing children to an education is clearly the means to achieve this objective”.
what is more urgent is forbidding the employment of children in hazardous (with risk to life) trades and occupation like fire-works or poisonous gas-producing factories., mines etc. the broad general principle should be to link trade with human rights. it is a happy sign that an amount of Rs. 34,000/- crores have been allotted towards the elimination of child labour and have been placed at the disposal of the national authority for the elimination of child labour. that then is the only silver lining in the otherwise clouded horizon.