What's New :
ITS 2025: Integrated Test Series & Mentorship Program for Prelims and Mains. Get Details

World Day Against Child Labour

Published: 15th Jun, 2020

The World Day Against Child Labour is observed on June 12 every year. However, in 2020, child labourers are worse off: The nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has left them with no source of income and no means of protection against the disease.

Context

The World Day Against Child Labour is observed on June 12 every year. However, in 2020, child labourers are worse off: The nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has left them with no source of income and no means of protection against the disease.

Background

  • Poverty, growing demand for unskilled and cheap labor, and unequal distribution of benefit generated from natural resource have led to the massive employment of child labor in India.
  • Despite having several laws, rules, policy, programmes, and schemes in place, the practice of child labor, especially in the mining sector, has continued as a problem.
  • The persistence of child labor is due to the availability of working place with the inefficiency of the law, administrative system and as such, it benefits the employers by reducing general wage levels.
  • Lack of application of fair methodology in determining- who is a child- has been a key challenge to child rights workers in India.

Analysis

What is World Day Against Child Labour?

  • Every year on June 12, the World Day Against Child Labour is observed on June 12 in almost 100 countries all around the globe.
  • The ILO launched World Day Against Child Labour in 2002, after which it is annually celebrated to raise awareness about the plight of child labourers worldwide.
  • Child labour: Child labor refers to deprivation of basic human rights; a healthy life, education, health, and an enabling environment for development

Who is a child?

  • According to the UNCRC, a child refers ‘every human being below the age of 18 years’. 
  • POCSO Act 2012 defines a child as ‘any person below eighteen years of age’.
  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 has changed the definition of ‘child to any person who has not completed 18 years of age’.
  • The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 defines a child as ‘a person who has not completed fourteen years of age’.
  • The Factories Act, 1948 and Plantation Labour Act 1951 states that ‘a child is one that has not completed fifteen years of age’.

Magnitude of child labour in India

  • According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are about 152 million children globally who are engaged in child labour, 72 million of whom are in hazardous work.
  • One in ten of all children worldwide is in child labour.
  • While the number of children in child labour has declined by 94 million since 2000, the rate of reduction slowed by two-thirds in recent years. 

Governance

At Global level:

  • UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) : The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on November 20, 1989.
    • The scope of this convention — that India ratified in 1990 — extends to individuals up to the age of 18.
    • The parties (of the convention) recognise the right of the child to be protected from economic exploitation and performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education, stated Article 32 of the CRC.

At National level:

  • The child labor (prohibition and regulation) Act, 1986 prohibits the employment of children. However, it allows children to work with certain process being banned in certain industries below 14 years of age.
  • The Child and Adolescent Labor (prohibition and protection) Act, 2016 imposes a blanket ban on employment of children below 18 years of age. However, it allows children to be employed in family-based enterprises and the employment of children in most hazardous occupations like tanning, bangle-making, zari work, carpets, domestic work, e-waste and numerous.
  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and Amendment Act, 2006, imposes an absolute ban on employment of a child below 18 years in line with international conventions on child rights.

Constitutional Provisions safeguarding Children:

  • Article 24: No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.
  • Article 21 (A): The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age six to 14 years.
  • Article 39 (e): The State shall direct its policy towards securing that the health and strength of workers, men and women and the tender age of children are not abused and that they are not forced by economic necessity to enter vocations unsuited to their age and strength.
  • Article 39(f): Children shall be given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth shall be protected against moral and material abandonment.
  • Article 45: The State shall endeavor to provide within a period of 10 years from the commencement of the Constitution for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14 years.

Assessing the impacts:

  • Loss of childhood: Child labor leads to loss of quality childhood. Children are deprived of the opportunity to enjoy the experiences that come with being young. 
  • Various health issues:Child labor leads to various health complications due to various reasons such as undernourishment and poor working conditions. Furthermore, working in places such as mines and badly conditioned factories can result in lifetime health issues.
  • Illiteracy:Children that are employed do not have the time to go to school. The lack of education and illiteracy makes them individuals with limited opportunities as far as employment is concerned. 
  • Mental trauma: Issues such as bullying, sexual exploitation, and unfavorable working hours may result in mental trauma. It may also result in the lack of emotional growth and thus insensitivity.
  • Indulging into criminal activities: Illiteracy and insensitivity can easily influence the children by the criminal activities.

Indian laws and inconsistency: Issues and challenges 

  • One of the biggest hurdles standing against fighting child labour is the confusion around the definition of a child, in terms of age, in various laws dealing with child labor jeopardizing the spirit of the Acts. The age of the child has been defined differently in various existing laws.
  • The child labor (prohibition and regulation) Act, 1986 prohibits the employment of children. However, it allows children to work with certain process being banned in certain industries below 14 years of age.
  • The Child and Adolescent Labor (prohibition and protection) Act, 2016 imposes a blanket ban on employment of children below 18 years of age. However, it allows children to be employed in family-based enterprises and the employment of children in most hazardous occupations like tanning, bangle-making, zari work, carpets, domestic work, e-waste and numerous.
  • However, in order to determine the age of the child, Government of India chooses to use the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, which provides free and compulsory education for the children below 14 years as the yardstick.
  • There still exists a number of interpretations of each law facilitating the inconsistency in Indian judicial system and how it looks at Child Labour.

Significance of the Day

  • The reason June 12 is marked as World Day Against Child Labour is to bring attention to the problem of child labour and to find ways to eradicate it or fight against it.
  • The day is used to spread awareness about the harmful mental and physical problems faced by children forced into child labour, around the world.
  • The day also gives an opportunity for people to develop efficient mechanisms to combat specific issues that leads to child labour.

Conclusion

In the darkest corners of starvation, malnutrition and muted humanity, child labor flourishes in the country. It is killing the future of the nation silently. Though, India has a plethora of laws and policies in place to combat child labour. However, the result is ineffective. The need of the hour is to have a wholehearted commitment with a holistic approach to eradicate child labor.

Verifying, please be patient.

Enquire Now