How Covid-19 is weakening all efforts to end child labour in India!
This editorial is based on the article “Breaking the cycle of child labor is in India’s hands” published in ‘The Hindu’ on 02/06/2021. It discusses the status of child labor in India so let’s start discuss is Covid-19 has weakening all efforts to end child labour in India?
Reference:How Covid-19 is weakening all efforts to end child labour in India!
Children from poor families are forced to do child labor due to the increased economic insecurity, lack of social security and declining household income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the second year in a row, the lockdown has worsened the situation, weakening all efforts to end child labour.
- The actual extent of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on child labor is yet to be measured, but it is certain that its impact is much wider.
- Although not all factors that contribute to child labor are epidemic; Most of them already existed but have been exposed by it. Although the pandemic has amplified its contributing factors, policy and program interventions can save children.
Status of child labor in India
- Child labor refers to employing children in any work that deprives them of their childhood. Interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is dangerous and harmful mentally, physically, socially or morally.
- According to the 2011 Census of India, there are 10.1 million children in the age group of 5–14 years, of whom 8.1 million are employed mainly in rural areas as farmers (23%) and agricultural laborers (32.9%).
Child labor has many side effects:
- Risks of contracting diseases like skin diseases, lung diseases, poor vision, tuberculosis etc.
- Vulnerability to sexual abuse at the workplace.
- being deprived of education.
- They are unable to take advantage of the opportunities for growth and spend the rest of their lives as unskilled workers.
Child Labor: Constitutional and Legal Provisions
- According to Article 23 of the Indian Constitution, any form of forced labor is prohibited.
- According to Article 24, a child below the age of 14 years cannot be employed to do any dangerous work.
- According to Article 39 “the health and strength of male and female workers and the fragile age of children shall not be abused”.
- Similarly, as per the Child Labor Act (Prohibition and Regulation), 1986, prohibits children below 14 years of age from working in hazardous industries and processes.
- Policy interventions such as MGNREGA 2005, the Right to Education Act, 2009 and the Mid-Day Meal Scheme have paved the way for guaranteed wage employment (for unskilled workers) for rural households as well as for children to stay in schools.
- Also with the ratification of Convention №138 and 182 of the International Labor Organization in the year 2017, the Government of India has demonstrated its commitment to the eradication of child labor, including children engaged in hazardous occupations.
Child labor issues
- Cause-Effect Relationship: Child labor and exploitation are the result of many factors, including poverty, social norms forbidding them, lack of decent work opportunities for adults and adolescents, migration and emergencies. These factors are not only the causes of social inequalities but also the discrimination induced consequences.
- Threats to the National Economy: The physical and mental health of the children is deteriorating due to the continuation of child labour, exploitation and lack of access to schools. This is proving negative for the national economy.
- Child Labor in the Informal Sector: Although child labor laws have been banned, child laborers across India are employed in various informal industries such as brick kilns, carpet weaving, garment manufacturing, agriculture, fisheries etc.
- Disguised Child Labour: Despite the decline in the rate of child labor in the past few years, children are still being used veiledly for tasks such as domestic help.
- Child labor may not seem immediately dangerous but it can have long term and disastrous consequences for their education, their skill acquisition.
- Hence their future prospects are to overcome the vicious cycle of poverty, incomplete education and poor quality jobs.
- Child Trafficking: Child trafficking is linked to child labor and always results in child abuse.
- trafficked children are forced into wrongdoings such as prostitution or are illegally adopted; They provide cheap or unpaid labor, are forced to work as house servants or beggars and can be recruited into armed groups.
- Role of Panchayat: Since about 80% of child labor in India takes place in rural areas. Panchayat can play a major role in reducing child labour. In this context the Panchayat should:
- To create awareness about the ill-effects of child labour.
- Encourage parents to send their children to school.
- Create an environment where children do not have to work and instead enroll in schools.
- Ensure that adequate facilities are available to children in schools.
- Inform industry owners about laws prohibiting child labor and fines for violating these laws.
- Activate Kindergarten and Anganwadis in the village so that working mothers do not leave the responsibility of younger children to their elder siblings.
- To motivate Village Education Committees (VECs) to improve the condition of schools.
- integrated approach: Child labor and other forms of exploitation can be prevented through integrated approaches that address poverty and inequality, improve quality and access to education, and protect children’s rights, while strengthening child protection systems. To garner public support.
- Understanding children as active stakeholders: Children have the power to play a vital role in preventing child labour. They can play a vital role in child protection and can provide valuable insight into how they understand their participation and what they expect from government and other stakeholders. We do.
Children are made to study in schools, not to work in workplaces. Child labor deprives children of their right to go to school and makes poverty generational. Child labor acts as a major barrier to education, affecting both school attendance and performance.
Child labor deprives children of their right to go to school and creates generational poverty.
By Team Vlog Bharat