Child Labour Act. in  PDF Download.

Stop Child Labour

India is the second highest number where child labour in the world is concerned. Africa is the highest number of children employed and exploited. The fact is that across the length and breadth of the nation, children are in a pathetic condition.

 

While experts blame the system, poverty, illiteracy, adult unemployment; yet the fact is that the entire nation is responsible for every crime against a child. Instead of nipping the problem at the bud, child labour in India was allowed to increase with each passing year. And today, young ones below the age of 14 have become an important part of various industries; at the cost of their innocence, childhood, health and for that matter their lives.

Bonded Child Labour :
This is also known as slave labour and is one of the worst types of labour for children and adults, alike. In fact, in 1976 the Indian Parliament enacted the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act; herein declaring bonded illegal. However, the fact remains is that this system of working still continues. According to certain experts approximately 10 million bonded children labourers are working as domestic servants in India. Beyond this there are almost 55 million bonded child labourers hired across various other industries.

Child Labour in The Agricultural Sector :
According to a recent ILO report about 80% child labourers in India are employed in the agriculture sector. The children are generally sold to the rich moneylenders to whom borrowed money cannot be returned.

Street Children :
Children on the streets work as beggars, they sell flowers and other items, instead of being sent to school. They go hungry for days to gather. In fact, they are starved so that people feel sorry for them and give them alms.

Children Employed At Glass Factories :
According to recent estimates almost 60,000 children are employed in the glass and bangle industry and are made to work under extreme conditions of excessive heat.

Child Labour in Matchbox Factories :
Of the 2,00,000 labour force in the matchbox industry, experts claim that 35% are children below the age of 14. They are made to work over twelve hours a day, beginning work at around 4 am, everyday.

Carpet Industry Child Labour :
According to a recent report by the ILO almost 4,20,000 children are employed in the carpet industry of India.

The Other Industries :
According to researchers there are about 50,000 children employed in the brass industry of India and around the same amount in the lock industry.

Child labour in housing societies is not unusual. In fact, as per the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, more than 40% of domestic help in Mumbai (more popularly known as City of Dreams) are under-15 girls.

We Can Make a Difference, I decided to take up this issue and raise a voice against employment of children in homes. Later, NACHRCOI unanimously decided to organize “Say No to Child Labour” Campaign on January 29th 2017 ,  As we were discussing our action plan for  our family, friends and neighbours asked us a range of questions on the existing rules, penalties, reporting procedures, after-effects of removing a child labourer from work, etc. It is at this point, that we decided to draft a section on general FAQs related to child labour, which can be circulated through electronic media

 

The FAQs are as follows:-

1. Why fighting against child labour is important?

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  • India has the highest number of child labourers in the world.

  • Of the child labour force, 86% do not receive any education. 

  • When children are employed they are exploited and abused. It affects their heath as well as overall development since they are deprived of their education and recreation.

 

2. Why is NACHRCOI targeting child labour in housing societies?

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  • Child labor in housing societies is rampant. In fact, more than 40% of domestic help in Mumbai are under-15 girls [Source: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report].

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  • In October, 2006, government announced penalties for the employers of child labourers in houses, shops, restaurants, etc.

  • Housing Society Bye Laws, (governed by the Maharashtra Cooperative Societies Act, 1960), were recently amended to ban child labor in the housing society’s. It provides that a society should ensure that children below the age of 14 are not working on the society’s premises, including in any flat.
  • Penalties: The guilty (individual hirer) would be punished with a maximum fine of 1 year prison and/or Rs 20,000 in fine [Bye Laws 49(b) & 153 (c)].

  • Please note that there are ‘NO’ exceptions to the above rule i.e. a child laborer cannot work in a housing society for any type of work.

It is because of these reasons, NACHRCOI decided to target child labor in housing societies.

3. In most cases parents send their children to work. If we do not employ a child laborer in our house, the parents may employ the child somewhere else.

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    • There are two broad categories of parents —

First, ones who are unaware of the advantages of education and the various government schemes, which provide for the free education to poor children.

Second, those who do not want to send their children to schools as it will deprive them of the extra income what their children are earning.

  • In the first case, we individuals, can go extra mile and make the parents aware of the advantages of education in a child’s future. We can also educate them about free education as well as Midday Meal schemes in government-aided school.

  • In the second case, once again we individuals can act responsible citizens and report such cases to government or local NGOs. 1098 is a 24-hour childcare helpline no. The authorities at 1098 would then take it forward — depending on the nature of each case, the authorities would counsel the parents, provide some financial help or take some rehabilitation measure. Please note, that by reporting on 1098, the authorities would not take harsh measures against the children or their parents. Rather, they would help in every way possible.

4. Children are the major source of income for poor families. What would these families do in order to survive?

  • If you ask. “Is it not true that if a family is extremely poor and is in desperate straits then the parents would need to send their child to work?” Then the answer of course is ‘YES’.

  • But reframe the question as “Are all families sending their children to work so poor that they need their child’s income in order to survive?” The answer is firm ‘NO’.

  • In fact, the rural areas are full of examples of children belonging to very poor families who are in school while their relatively better-off counterparts are working (SOURCE: MVF India).

  • A large number of factors that have nothing to do with the economics of the situation, such as tradition, ignorance of parents on account of illiteracy, lack of access to alternatives, and so on govern the decision of the family to send a child to work or to school.

  • We must remember that education is a fundamental right of every child in India. In fact, education is a direction in breaking the vicious circle of poverty.

5. What if the child is studying as well as working?

  • Firstly, the law clearly provides that child labour (in any form) is strictly banned. There are no exceptions to the above rule.

  • Even if a child is going to school, he/she is still not allowed to work in the after-school hours.

  • After-school hours are meant for child’s recreation, which would promote a child’s overall development and not for working in homes, restaurants, shops, etc.

 

6. I tried convincing a child labourer in my society to go to schools and study. But he’s least interested in education. What more can I do?

  • Let us rewind our life and go back to our primary school days (in the age group 6- 10 years). How many of us, were enthusiastic about waking up for the school? How many of us, (without our parents interfering) finished our homework first and then head for playing with our friends? How many of us understood the importance of education in first place? I’m afraid the answer is not many of us.

  • It was because of our parents/guardians/tuition teachers that we studied during our primary school days, completed our homework, indulged in extra-curricular activities like drawing, cycling, dancing, etc.

  • It is important for all of us to understand, that like us, there are many child labourers who do not like studying. But as our parents mentored our lives and made you and me an educated person, we should be taking care of the rights of such poor children.

  • I want to raise a voice against child labour in my society, but am afraid that it would affect the relationship between my family and my neighbors.

  • This is for every individual to decide what they want to do — accept things as they are or raise voice against wrong, maintain relationship with your neighbor ad turn a blind eye or take a step in shaping a child’s future.

  • Do what appeals to your self-conscience as you are answerable only to yourself.

 

8. How can I contribute?

  • ‘BE’ a responsible citizen and ensure you do not employ child labour.

  • ‘ACT’ as a responsible citizen and ensure that your society does not employ child labour.

  • ‘EDUCATE’ and create awareness amongst people employing child labourers and the parents sending their children to work.

  • Further, ‘REPORT’ cases of child labour.

  • Take the initiative and create a difference,

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