Children account for 13% workforce in the country

Children account for 13% workforce in the country

“Childhood is the most beautiful of all life's seasons"- this anonymous adage is not right in the case of Rony who is aged about 10 years who throws a rubber band tied rolled newspaper into my compound wall.

E Gajendra Nath Reddy

"Childhood is the most beautiful of all life's seasons"- this anonymous adage is not right in the case of Rony who is aged about 10 years who throws a rubber band tied rolled newspaper into my compound wall. Many times, I used to compare his childhood with his peer group those who were enjoying their childhood and its fragrance. Though, he has been forced to lose all this fun due to his familial conditions his ever smiling face makes him valour of life. I made an inquiry about his job of the first light with a bunch of questions but his single answer is "I have to support my family with a penny" since my father was no more. This tear jerking story not confined to not only to Rony but also 10.1 million children according to the 2011 census in our country. Among this 4.5 million girls and 5.6 million boys and nearly they account for 13 per cent workforce in our country.

Child labour is the biggest hurdle in our country, through successive governments have acted with some spirit to prune this ever-growing phenomena "Impoverished nature; Illiteracy; Ignorance "(3Is) of our masses promoting this. It is the responsibility of the newly elected government to show its iron will to suppress because the magnitude of this problem is more in five states of North India such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and in Maharashtra. It is noticeable that the 2011 census report reveals that during 2001 to 2011 a decline has been noticed in the child labour 11.3 million to 8.3 million in rural areas but whereas in urban areas a considerable up from 1.3 million to 2 million. These stats will reflect the migration of the rural population to urban areas for their bread winning.

According to the UNICEF –"A child is considered to be involved in child labour activities under the following conditions a) Children 5 to 11 years of age that does at least one hour of economic activity or at least 28 hours of domestic work and b) Children 12 to 14 that during the week preceding the survey did at least 14 hours of economic activity or at least 42 hours of economic activity and domestic work combined" .The above said two conditions clearly explains that child labour deprives the childhood of a child and its components such as schooling and pressurize them both mentally and physically. Further, it is noticeable that at their tender ages children are forced to involve in slavery, as bonded labour, forced begging, in mining works, textile works, sweet shops, home-based industries for low wages and making more coarse towards the society. It is more pathetic to conceive a crude fact that for some girls it has become mandatory to become child prostitutes for a trifle that could be a brush with death experience. It is very repulsive to become aware of that according to the Global Childhood Report ("Save The Children" a nonprofit organization that bats for child rates- May 28, 2019) India located at 113 positions among 176 countries in Children well-being index. Though our rank improved from 116 t0 113 yet we need to strive for better rank.

In our country, the magnitude of child labour is more and it is related to the socio-economic factors like poverty and illiteracy. Among the working force of our country for every ten workers, one is tender aged. The employers have been also leaning towards this crying shame because of low wages and children don't aware of their rights. Further, in certain communities parents are treating the children as their economic source and their ignorance about the dent of child labour on a child's development is also promoting this heinous crime. In rural areas, most of the out of school children (OSC) has been involved in various economic activities that will fall under the category of hazardous and nonhazardous works. Though, The legislations like 1)The factories Sct-1948; 2) The Mines Act -1952; 3) The child labour (Prohibition and Regulation Act-1986; 4)The juvenile justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act -2000 were in the force they haven't thrown this problem into the shade.

Although; The RTE-2009 that has made the free and compulsory education mandatory in our country for the age group 6-14 years and allocated 25% seats in private schools yet, the magnitude of the child labour hasn't clipped. International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines the term child labour as, "work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential, and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development. It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children, or work whose schedule interferes with their ability to attend regular school or work that affects in any manner their ability to focus during school or experience a healthy childhood." This definition has clearly denoted that "Child is meant to learn not to earn" and throws its weight behind the curbing of child labour. Further, the RTE-2009 main emphasis "Quality education" has become a mirage with a single teacher for five classes at primary level. This is gathering flesh for twin problems that are a) increase in the out of school children b) swelling in child labour. So, the governments should have to focus on the better implementation of RTE-2009.

As societal beings, we should become aware of that the child labour issue is related with the socio-economic factors hence to trim the same all the stakeholders of the society along with the government should have to work for hand in glove manner. The government and society focus on certain things such as; 1) Providing more teeth to legislation'; 2) providing minimum economical strength to impoverished people; 3) Providing better universal free and compulsory education; 4)Creating awareness in consumers about child labour; 5) Making citizens follow moral policing against child labour 6) Supporting the organizations and government generously with donations to get rid of child labour ;

It is a welcome move that the newly sworn-in union government is trying to introduce " Each one-Teach one" program that will make every Indian child enjoy his childhood and with its components. It is hoped that this unique program will surely bridge the existing little gap in the enrolment and indirectly align with country's march to eliminate the visible and vicious ghost "child labour" that has been depriving the essence of childhood. It should become the motto for all the stake holders of the society" Let the children enjoy their childhood" irrespective of their genesis. Let me introduce a poem by Mehreen Mujeeb that could reveal the heart touching state of child labour "Our sunken eyes are tired of crying; Our hearts are sick of dying; Just remember; You were a child once too; We deserved a life; a life where we have no work to do; We are tired of this doing every day; Stop child labour;

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