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Child Labour

By Calpurnia Jane On July - 14 - 2009 ADD COMMENTS
child labour 02

Although it is illegal, the problem of Child Labour continues to pose a challenge to the progress of the nation. The government has been taking various proactive measures to tackle this problem, but it requires concrete efforts from all sections of the society to make a dent in the problem.

From washing used plates in a restaurant,  selling flowers or balloons on a traffic signal, working on a construction site to working in a house as servant 24*7, the child labour can be seen doing whatever he is asked to. Hundreds of kids work daily on nominal wages/payments to support their family,which normally, is quite huge and contains no one else, other than the eldest kid (usually a male child) to earn them a livelihood. Most of these child labourers are from the age group of 9-14, and out of these children 90% are orphans and are living with their relatives. Child labour is a socio-economic problem,roots of which are poverty and illiteracy. It is confirmed that as long as poverty continues, it would be difficult to totally eliminate child labour and thus, any legal action to eradicate this problem would not be practical proposition.

Credit: Calpurnia Jane

Credit: Calpurnia Jane

Way back in 1979, government formed the first committee called Gurupad Swamy Committee to study the issue of Child Labour. The Committee examined the problem and based on its observation The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act was enacted in 1986,to adopt a gradual and sequential approach with a focus on rehabilitation of children working in hazardous operations and processes in their first instance. As poverty is the root cause of child labour, the action plan should cover these children and their families also under poverty alleviation and employment generation scheme of government. Inspite of all these steps taken by the government at the centre and at the state level, child labour continues to be a huge problem in front of the nation.

Srikanth, a 12 years old child, from Warangal, came to Secunderabad to his uncle, to earn and support his family. When his father died in an accident, that took place at a construction site in Warangal, he was in 4th standard, and was 9 years old. His family constitutes of his mother, two younger siblings and a grandmother. Soon after his father’s death, he left his studies and joined a restaurant near his house as a helper. But, the owner paid him only a little, which was not enough for a family of 5 members, his mother decided to send him to his uncle in the city, to earn more. Today, Srikanth looks after his uncles tea stall, exactly near sec’bad station. Every month he visits his family and gives them his payment, and for the times he cannot go there, he sends the money through a money order.

credit: calpurnia Jane

Credit: Calpurnia Jane

Another such case is of Parvez, who works in a shop dealing in footwear. His family resides here in sec’bad itself. the kid is 11 yrs old. When asked to the employers, they said that the kid didn’t work there, he was just sitting over there. the kid said he wanted to study, but the circumstances didn’t let him to. Santosh and Ravi were found sitting outside a shop,shutter of which was down. they were waiting for their employer to return from his lunch brake. All these three cases are of Sec’bad station area, there is but of course a police station there,and it is clear that no steps have been taken by the police in any of the case.

There are many colleges and schools at the station, students of which see these and many more kids working daily, and even getting beaten up by the employer on doing a mistake. One of the students of Wesley Degree College Of Women(a near by college), Neeti Mishra says, “Its a grievous crime to employ kids, whose age is to study and play. Government has made rule against child labour, its the duty of every citizen of India now to see to it that the rules are implemented.

Credit: www.ilo.org

Credit: www.ilo.org

They are our future, and we can’t let our future drown”. Another student of the same college Supriya Singh comments, “No parent wants to send their child to work, its the circumstances that make them do so. government of India have started many schools for these kids under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, but according to me, these schools should work at night, so that the children can study after the work hours.” A teacher of Shiva Shivani Public School says, “Rather than make them study books, child labour’s should be given Vocational Training free of cost, which would help them support their families in an even better manner.”

UN Agencies too are working in India to eradicate this problem. Agencies like ILO, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNIFEM are working in districts of Karnool, East Godavary, Krishna, Cuddapah, Anantpur, Guntur, Chittoor any many more for the rehabilitation of trafficked children in Andhra Pradesh.

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