Over the last decade, India has witnessed a boom across many sectors whether we talk about tourism, agriculture, infrastructure, or the service sector, there has been rapid economic growth. As a nation, we feel proud to see India swiftly rising into a major developing country. However, there is a dark underbelly that has unfortunately driven and consequently resulted in this expansion to some extent. Yes, that's correct. I am referring to the global phenomenon of child labor. Instead of focusing on their academic career or spending quality time outdoors with friends, millions of children in India spent their precious childhood years working in hazardous and precarious conditions like mines, with menacing machinery in a factory, or with chemicals and pesticides in the farms.
Even after years of social reforms, child labour still persists in metropolises and towns, slums, and rural areas. Children are forced to work as a result of inadequate infrastructure facilities, and they find themselves caught up in the middle of our nation's poverty crisis. Sadly enough, these children are pushed into child labour by their own parents or relatives.
THE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES:-
The leading factors that contribute massively to the prevalence of child labour in India include:-
1) The Increasing Percentage of Unemployment and Poverty- Diminishing rates of employment and rising levels of poverty force young children to work in such unsafe environments so that they can support their families.
2) Lack of Literacy- Often, parents from poor families don’t understand the importance of education and holistic development in their children’s lives. So, they prefer sending them to work rather than to a school.
3) Lacking Awareness- There are so many people, particularly those from impoverished families, who are oblivious to the menaces of child labour and willingly shove their children into it without hesitation.
4) Overpopulation- Overpopulation corresponds to inadequate resources as well as more mouths to feed. Therefore, these children have no other choice but to start working at such a tender age.
5) Violation of Prevailing Laws- This is one of the biggest concerns regarding child labour. Countless people in the country frequently violate the rules and regulations governing child labour. The incidence of child labour is so widespread that many cases go unreported. Even though the government has enacted certain laws and policies, many citizens do not adhere to them.
Child labour has a significant impact on a nation's economic health along with many long-lasting negative consequences, especially for India. A nation's economy can only prosper when it has educated and informed citizens, capabilities, and technology. Apart from these factors, it is crucial that the new generation eventually becomes a component of human assets. However, the continued widespread existence of this illegal practice will comprise an accumulation of human resources.
THE PREVENTIVE MEASURES:-
Today, several NGOs and activists work day and night for the rights and welfare of these unprivileged children. The following are some of the steps taken by them as well as the government to obliterate child labour from the country.
1) Spreading awareness among communities regarding the consequences and effects of child labour and deterring parents from forcing their children to work.
2) Boosting school enrolment numbers and enhancing educational standards to make sure more and more children attend school.
3) Establishing bridge schools for these children to train them for a smooth transition to official schooling.
4) Children who were previously working as child labourers are rehabilitated and counseled, and then sent to a school.
Written By-Reetika Bhatt