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World Day against Child Labour

Published: 25th Jun, 2019

World Day against Child Labour was celebrated on 12 June to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them.


World Day against Child Labour was celebrated on 12 June to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them.


  • This year’s theme is “Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams” which focuses on the development of the children working in agriculture sector throughout the world.
  • 2019 also marks 20 years since the adoption of the ILO's Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999.

Background and Targets

  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it.
  • ILO says 152 million children are still in child labour, with 7 out of every 10 in agriculture.
  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by world leaders in 2015, include a renewed global commitment to ending child labour.
  • Specifically, target 8.7 of the SDGs calls on the global community to: "Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.”

Initiatives taken by the Indian government to prevent child labour

  • In 1979, the central government formed the first statutory committee- the Gurupadswamy committe. One of their major observations was that the problem of child labour is inextricably linked to poverty.
  • Taking into account the findings and recommendations of the Gurupadswamy committee, the union government enacted the Child Labour (Prohibition and & Regulation) Act in 1986. "Child" as defined, by this act, is a person who has not completed the age of 14 years.
  • The act prohibited children from being employed in specified hazardous occupations and at the same time regulated their working condition in other non-hazardous occupations and processes.
  • A landmark step in the endeavour to have a child labour free society was the enactment of the Child labour (Prohibition and Prevention) Amendment Act, 2016.
  • It provides for a complete prohibition on the employment of children below 14 years in all occupations and processes and prohibits the employment of adolescents (14-18 years) in hazardous occupations and processes.
  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act of 2000 made it a crime, punishable with a prison term, for anyone to procure or employ a child in any hazardous employment or in bondage. This act provides punishment to those who act in contravention to the previous acts by employing children to work.
  • From 2001, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan is an effort to universalize elementary education by community-owner ship of the school system.  It is a response to the demand for quality basic education all over the country.  The SSA programme is also an attempt to provide an opportunity for improving human capabilities to the poorest children, through provision of community-owned quality education in a mission mode.
  • As per 2011 census, there are 43.53 lakh main workers in the age group of 5-14 years in various occupation and process including domestic work in the country.
  • As per Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government is following a multi-pronged strategy for elimination of child labour. It comprises of statutory and legislative measures, rehabilitation and universal elementary education along with convergence with other schemes for socio economic development.

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