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Child Labour: A Contemporary Evil In Indian Society That Needs To Be Eliminated

Every city, lane, and corner of Indian society is resonating with the term ‘child labour’ and many slogans related to it have been raised. We have been taught since our childhood that child labour is wrong. However, this issue is not paid much attention to. Child labour rates are increasing, but is anyone talking about it? The answer is a big “no”: we are so extremely busy in our lives that those little hands who are making their livelihoods in factories, big industries, and local vendors and shops working endlessly, never seem to cross our minds. It doesn’t affect our luxuries, and hence, we scarcely ever question it.

Were they born to do the work from such a young age? While our children get to play with toys, they are playing with heavy machinery and weapons under a huge risk to their health, just to earn a two figure income to afford single meal. The situation is so bad in our country that children have to resort to working and earning, instead of learning. The ones who should be earning are the young and unemployed youth, who are sitting at home without any scope for jobs.

With the fire of child labour continuing to burn the Indian economy, will people take action to reduce this fire? Or will we again become the spark to spread this fire around ourselves? The onus is on the people to decide. The need of the hour is to provide these children with books and pencils, in place of brooms and mops. They are the future of India, and they deserve an education.

The International Labour Organization launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the need to eliminate it

Has anyone ever thought about why the practice is wrong? According to the definition, “Child labour refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives them of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially or morally harmful.” It is clear from the definition that the practice is a  crime ad people employing it people are biggest criminals of Indian society.

Another reason why child labour is wrong is because by making a child work, we are actually decreasing the quality of our education system and spoiling that innocent life of that child.

I will tell you my own personal story. When I was in class 12 and 1st year of college, during my exams and sometimes on regular days as well, I used to see two small girls named Aarti and Priyanka working at my house. They were sisters: one was 8 years old and the other was 18 years old.

They used to come at 9:00 am sharp, and they seemed to be extremely stressed. I used to see them from my balcony continuously for many days, and their stressed faces and the child labour problem at last forced me to ask them some questions that were running in my mind for a long time.

Once, I asked Aarti, the 18 year old who was married at very young age: “Why do you come here to work everyday? Why don’t you study or go to school?” She told me that she wanted to go to school but because of her father’s health condition and due to family pressure, she is unable to do so. I asked her little sister that why she doesn’t go to school, and she replied with her sparkling eyes: “Didi, what I will do in school? It’s better to work because my financial condition is very poor, so I have to work in many houses and shops to have one meal a day.”

Image provided by author.

I would have told both of them to go to school and study there and have a good education, but after interacting with them I realized how these children are suffering in dark world of mental and physical pressure. It is a shame that we allow these childrens to work in our houses and societies, as by employing them we are spoiling their future and career.

There are no boons of child labour: it represents the evil part of society and needs to be eliminated. Every individual has to take a action without waiting for another person to do it first. We should convince their families to let them study and make a good career, instead of doing such hazardous work .

Let us take a pledge today that we the citizens of India will take necessary action towards child labour so vigorously that wherever we see it happening- no matter whether it is a rural or urban area- we will raise our voices and surely eliminate this social evil from the root. We will not spoil the life of an innocent child by employing them in our household work and selfish motives. If we want to maintain the quality of education system, we have to educate children, especially those from rural areas who are deprived of education, basic amenities, and other advancement opportunities.



Some Statistics Regarding Child Labour:

  • According to the Census of 2011, Uttar Pradesh alone accounts for 20.6% of child laborers in India, followed by Maharashtra (11.4%), Bihar (10.4%), Andhra Pradesh (9.3%), Madhya Pradesh (6.6%), Gujarat and Rajasthan (5.8%), Karnataka (5.7%) and West Bengal (5.4%).
  • The bottom three states in terms of number of child laborers in India are Sikkim, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh, which have the lowest number of child labourers in India.
  • As per the Census of 2011, the total child population in India in the age group (5-14) years is 259.6 million. Of these, 10.1 million (3.9% of total child population) are working, either as ‘main worker’ or as ‘marginal worker’. In addition, more than 42.7 million children in India are out of school.
  • Girls and boys often start carrying out hazardous work at very early ages. Worldwide, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 22,000 children are killed at work every year.

Once this socio-economic problem is removed, the economy will be balanced so flawlessly that there will be no cases of poverty and child labour in the upcoming years. We should not forget that child labour arises from poverty, and that is why we should stop hunting the souls of little children and start leading them towards their career goals. Let us come out on the roads in enormous masses and raise our voices against child labour, as lives of little ones are destroyed when they are employed.

In conclusion, we have to understand the difference between two sides of the coin: firstly, if the child is working in his own home, or secondly, if the child is working in other people’s homes to earn his livelihood. It makes a huge difference and we as citizens of India need to understand that there is a big difference between these two sides of the coin. The first side can make your children’s lives and second could ruin your children’s live. So, my dear Indian citizens, which side will you toss: heads or tails?

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Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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