Safe Childhoods for a Safe India
"Empower yourselves with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise". - Michelle Obama
Child labour is the practice of having children engage in economic activity, on a part- or full-time basis. This deprives children of their childhood. Their potential and their dignity are compromised, causing harm to their physical and mental development. The number of cases filed against child labour is no less in India. At an early age, good number of children are trafficked and forced to work in various construction sites, factories, dhabas and many other places for low wages which obstruct them from their right to education. 80% of the child labourers are from rural India and three out of four are working in agricultural fields.
The 2011 national census of India found the total number of child labourers, aged 5–14, to be at 4.35 million, and the total child population to be 259.64 million in that age group. The shocking statistics on child labour show that approx 38.7 million boys and 8.8 million girls are involved in hazardous work and this happens in a country where child labour is a cognizable criminal offence. Children between age of 14 and 18 are defined as "Adolescent" and the law allows adolescent to be employed except in the listed hazardous occupation and processes, which include mining, inflammable substance and explosives related work and any other hazardous process as per the Factories Act, 1948.
The major reasons why child labour is still in existence is because of poverty, illiteracy and overpopulation. Lack of knowledge of compulsory education, huge demand for unskilled labour, early marriages and high cost of education which force children to work at an early age of their life. This will not only adversely affect their personal as well as mental growth and development. This issue can only be addressed if the children along with their families are educated and aware of their basic right to education.