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Child Labor in India - Our Response to the International Cry : Labor for a Child  

The Western Countries conveniently have forgotten the Child Labour involved during Industrial Revolution of their countries. In order for them to achieve their goals several million children had been employed, mostly the hapless children of beloved black community under the aparthied system that prevailed and practiced till recently in South Africa.

Till such time there was no clue available for them about the suffering of a mother who undergoes labor pain for a child. She was freely encouraged to give birth with her labor pain to later induct that child for labor, for their industrial revolution, in which not only adults but also the teens, youths, mothers, fathers, aged persons along with children were involved to achieve the result.

A mother, it has been estimated that, she undergoes child labor pain similar to that of almost her 20 bones crushed at a time !!

Now the mothers of Western world do not like to undergo such a painful ordeal. The westerners often seek help of surrogated mothers from India, who carry the ripped and riped seeds of foreign couples within their wombs. The Western media never highlight the pain and perils of the women folk who forcibly suffer labor pain for the delivery of the child. The Governments made several regulations to legalise all the chorus till the child is adopted by foreigners and departed from their mothers who gave birth


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1. What is the criteron to judge within the criteria of age factors which differ from country to country.

2. Able-bodied children get themselves medically verified and certified to be fit to work in factories.

3. Other children too follow suit !! Thus the procedures encourages them to lie for a livelyhood - a lie - which is a crime indeed !

4. The Law of the Land proclaims Freedom to everyone, but that Freedom is denied under one pretext or the other to the deserving children who have no other means than start earning, for their parents, siblings, relatives, or for themselves.

5. Depriving them of their fundamental right to earn, would not only jeopardises the lives of all dependents but also expose these hapless children to commit crimes for want of money or livelihood.

6. What about the Government sponsored ITIs ? In the name of education, not only the destitute children and children below the poverty line but also children who do not have any interest in studies are engaged in receiving technical training for a couple of years. They are generally imparted such training at the age of 14 years. The ITIs give them stipend - a meagre amount to maintain themselves rather you can say, for their survival. Cannot this be termed as a child labour under the guise of imparting training, at the age of 14 ? If not, then why one should hesitate to consider the employment or on the job training of a boy or girl of 14 to 16 years, at the wages doubler than what the stipend given to them by the ITIs ? In this way, the boys and girls not only support themselves but also support their poor parents and other siblings to continue their studies.

7. For getting enrolled in an ITI, the boy or girl has to qualify to the prescribed level of education, and also this involves travel from home, staying away from home for days together, whereas the employment in other factories within the vicinity is considered much pleasant and becomes comfortable, with more pay while staying at home.

8. Why the industries should not be encouraged and regularized to adopt such destitute children for imparting on-the-job training, instead of penalizing the companies for giving employment to the destitute children of 14 to 17 years. On the contrary, such industries actually exercise thier part of social accountability.

9. All the children who do not go to school would not opt to join any ITI due to unlimited reasons and problems of their own. One cannot force a boy or girl to go for theoretical studies, except advise, encourage and stimulate.

10. While the Accountability standardization Certifying authorities accept employment / training of a boy or girl of 14 years of age, why the companies are hesitant and enforce the age limit of employment as 18 ? Does it not amount to deprivation and infringement of the rights of the children ? In such case what is the use of Social Accountability Certificates the companies opt for, when such rules and regulations not at all help the destitute, hapless and hopeless children of the Nation ?

11. Can't the big and small industries be encouraged to impart training first to the 14 years old youth, with a minimum salary, rather than outrightly enforcing impracticable rules and regulations in the case of employment to the deserving youth below 18 years ?

12. The government should redefine the age limit as a policy and allow all industries to provide employment to the children at the age of 14 years, enrol them as trainees, impart them some education along with on-the-job training. The government should hit back at the false propaganda of utilization of child labor by export industries announcing the minimum age requirement of a boy or girl to get employment in Indian Industry.

UK Navy Children UK Navy Children Parade ITI Children
It is an accepted trend worldover to impart Industrial / Navigation training to children as young as 11 years, with meagre compensation as compared to employment by companies with better salaries, without snatching the children away from parents and relatives.

How to end child labor in India How to end child labour in India  

Child Labor is a tool most of the Industrialists / Importers of developed nations are handling conveniently to blame the psyche of the Industries in developing countries. Anybody, who contributes his adverse remarks against Child Labor, never comes up with a firm solution and those who suggest some sort of action never think that their theories are impracticable. They either don’t know the industrial set- up of these developing nations or unaware of the poverty lines still shining bright across the countries.

The countries generally seen under the firing line are mainly India, Pakistan, Bngladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and many African countries like Liberia Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Ivory Coast.  These countries produce many a products for export from their respective countries to the Developed nations.

Let us analyze the industries, which are vigorously exploiting the children of these countries to keep their gears running:

Though the Labor Laws of these countries have different age-group to define a person's eligibility to get employed, generally any registered Industry, either Small Scale, Medium Scale or Large Scale does not employ skilled or unskilled laborers below the age of 18 years. These industries even deny hiring underage contracted employees.

There are more than 21 categories of job training imparted to children of the age group of 14 - 18 by several Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs). When these children attain the age of 18, they are ready to take up a technical job.

Mostly the unregistered Industries, cottage industries, Rubber Plantations, Coffee & Tea Plantations, Sports Goods Manufacturers, Gift Articles, Hosiery and Garment Industries, hotels, Motels, grocery shops, vegetable and fruit shops, hawkers, newspaper and magazine suppliers and sellers on the road-side, iron smiths, gold smiths, milk suppliers, Two, Three and Four Wheeler Automobile Mechanics, Beedi Workers, Printing Presses, Card Board Packaging Materials Manufacturers, Polythene Manufacturers, Tailoring and Embroidery Shops, Zari Works, Weavers, Carpet Weavers, Utensils and Crockery Makers, Safety Match Box and Crackers Manufacturers, and several other innumerable industries and businesses are responsible for Child Labor.

In many of these businesses, it is the father who inducts his own children in support of his livelihood. If he chooses to send his wards to school, he employs other children in his society, who neither have a business of their own nor could go to school because of insufficient and depleted earnings of their parents.

In several cases, the trade is such that one ought to learn it from the childhood to produce master-pieces when he grows up. There are several handicrafts, which cannot be produced by an adult, if he starts learning at the age of 20 or so. Moreover, if he finishes his high school or college, he would never like to learn such handicraft producing tactics, which he thinks, are inappropriate to his status and education he acquired, thus concludes that such works would certainly bring very less compensation for the concentration and hard work, he has to put in.  Rather he prefers to have a white-collar job.

There are some tradesmen, who never have a broad outlook and only teach their children their trade secrets. Many fine artisans and manufacturers of artifacts never employ children other than their own. Ayurvedic, Country Medicos and Hakeems manufacturing medicines at home teach their trade secrets only to their children.

Engraved Metal Works, Ornamental Finery Works, Carpentry, Wood Carving, Pottery, Fishery, Navigation etc. can only reach to their perfection when a person starts learning from the childhood.

Childhood activities such as Fine Arts, Music, Playing Instruments such as Drums, Flute, Violin, Harmonium, Veena, Guitar, Dancing etc. can also be termed as friendly Child Labor because of their nature as non-profitable but one cannot attain perfection unless he practices these things from his childhood.  Children at musical parties, dance performance, Acting performances for Cinema, Drama, and advertisement are duly compensated.

Reasons for the Global Phenomena of Child Labor :

The Importing Countries prefer to import produces from Exporting Countries at a very competitive prices. This forces the Exporters to find out a way to keep cost of their production under check. The Exporters in the manufacturing fields of Antiquity items, Artifacts, Gift Items, Luxury items such as Pottery Show-pieces, Flower vases of various materials, including Clay items, Engraved Metal Works, Stone Carving, High Quality Carpets, Bamboo and Cane Furniture and other associated items, Chocolate and Sweets Manufacturers, where naturally Child Labor is involved due to their traditional links manage to keep the gears of their factories running employing these down-trodden children.  Here maintaining the cost of production at a lower level forces the manufacturer to pay less to the tradesmen, which ultimately result in going for child labor.

Now let me tell you the sources and circumstances that lead to Child Labor in most of the countries.

Uneducated families, daily bread-winners, hand-to-mouth laborers, large families with scanty income choose to send their wards for earning or at least to take care of their livelihood themselves. There are families that remain uneducated generation to generation due to their suppression as bonded labors or slaves by several Land Owners of Agricultural sector.  Full families, including children work for these Land Lords.

One more source of this child labor is the Traditional beggars, who never want to shed their sweat and earn. As long as the time-honored free feeding is available in several poor countries, these beggars will only multiply and spread to all parts of the country. Occasionally their children, on not getting sufficient care and food tend to work.

The deserted street children. They are abandoned by their parents due to illegitimacy in their birth or poverty. The children having no support from relatives in case of death of their parents, escapees from orphanages, destitute children homes due to several reasons, children of frequently quarreling parents under the influence of alcohol, etc.

The unluckiest of the lot are the female children, who are employed to work, though under a homely atmosphere, suffer too much due to the cruelty of their masters at home. Their Masters treat these hapless girls like slaves or less than that and budge them to work sometimes inconsistent to their capacity. These voiceless children bear the brunt of all sorts of whips, beats, slaps on the cheeks and burns on their delicate body. The proven best baby-sitters, are scantily dressed, underpaid, ignored during their illness and expected to work anytime of the day and any hour at the night.

Now, the question arises, is it possible to weed out Child Labor overnight from the surface of  the earth?!!

No. The problem of Child Labor knowingly and/or unknowingly deep routed into the psyche of the Societies of poor and developing countries cannot be undone entirely but could be controlled for some extent. You could see children who study and also employ themselves during holidays to earn for their financial needs. They earn for their study fees, uniform, books and notebooks!! Some earn for their pocket money and never go astray. Some boys employ themselves to support their parents and schooling of their brothers and sisters.  Forcible removal of the children from the factories resulted in children facing more acute problems constraining them to take up more perilous, hazardous and exploitative jobs like stone crushing, street hustling and garbage collecting, falling in the hands of hooligans who foster child prostitution, according to a study of UNISEF.

Making the education compulsory will not be the solution because education is not free at all levels and in all cities. Even if the education is free, one cannot expect the children to study empty-stomach, shabbily dressed and with a shortage of study material. Snatching away children from the parents and will be impossible because children seized in that way will not be happy in any other atmosphere.

The solution for the time being appears to me is that the parents must be encouraged to send their wards to school, while the schools must approach some rich parents to sponsor the schooling expenses of such needy children. Each and every Municipal/Corporate Ward of the town or city must take care of such children in their vicinity providing them and their parents some help to encourage schooling of the children. Social workers, Social Clubs and Organizations can be approached to sponsor children under the peril of forcible labor and the Government Authorities can order every corporation and Municipality under their management to keep a watch for such children and take serious steps to prevent their deployment for work, but when the situation warrants and child labor becomes unavoidable, a sincere effort to make the employers to arrange for the part time schooling of the children will also help in the long run.

If these efforts are put together, may be by the dawn of next century the developing countries will be able to see majority of its children having their right place in the society.

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