Child Labor in India
Poor children in India begin working at a very young and tender age. Many children have to work to help their families and some families expect their children to continue the family business at a young age.
India has all along followed a proactive policy in the matter of tackling the problem of child labour. India has always stood for constitutional, statutory and developmental measures that are required to eliminate child laborr in India. Indian Constitution consciously incorporated relevant provisions in the Constitution to secure compulsory universal elementary education as well as labor protection for children.
Though most children begin working at a young age due to economic reasons, doing so allows them to break from some social constraints.
Indian Government policies on Child Labor in India
India’s policy on child labour has evolved over the years against this backdrop. The present regime of laws relating to Child Labor in India have a pragmatic foundation and are consistent with the International Labour Conference resolution of 1979.
The policy of the government is to ban employment of children below the age of fourteen years in factories, mines and hazardous employment and to regulate the working conditions of children in other employment. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 seeks to achieve this basic objective.
Through a notification dated May 26, 1993, the working conditions of children have been regulated in all employment which are not prohibited under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act. Following up on a preliminary notification issued on October 5, 1993, the government has also prohibited employment of children in occupation processes like abattoirs /slaughter houses, printing, cashewnut descaling and processing, and soldering.
Children perform a variety of jobs: some work in factories, making products such as carpets and matches; others work on plantations, or in the home.
For boys the type of work is very different because they often work long hours doing hard physical labor outside of the home for very small wages.
The government has made efforts to prohibit child labor by enacting Child labor laws in India including the 1986 Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act that stated that children under fourteen years of age could not be employed in hazardous occupations.
This act also attempted to regulate working conditions in the jobs that it permitted, and put greater emphasis on health and safety standards.
However, due to cultural and economic factors, these goals remain difficult to meet. For instance, the act does nothing to protect children who perform domestic or unreported labor, which is very common in India. In almost all Indian industries girls are unrecognized laborers because they are seen as helpers and not workers. Therefore, girls are therefore not protected by the law. Children are often exploited and deprived of their rights in India, and until further measures are taken, many Indian children will continue to live in poverty.