You had published an article by the name ‘child labour: a necessary evil?’. In your article, it is portrayed that child labour is a “vexed issue” and I totally agree with you. Yes, I am in complete favour of you that child labour is a crime, an unforgivable sin and the way you have written this article is very inspiring.
The first statement that led me agreeing with you and your views was that” India is the largest breeder of child labour”. This is certainly true because India’s child workforce is almost equivalent to the population of Colombia, which is as per stated by the latest global report on childhood. A recent report from the International Labour Organization reports that at least 64 million girls and 88 million boys work as child labourers globally. Out of these 152 million children, more than 72 million work in hazardous conditions. In addition to this, almost 70 million children work in more acceptable employment conditions, taking the total children involved in employment or labour of some form to almost 220 million globally.
I really liked that you considered the fact of stating that” Child labour has deleterious effects on the physical, mental and social functioning of a child”. I certainly agree with you because India has the highest number of stunted children in the world and stunted growth is caused by chronic malnutrition in the first thousand days of a child’s life and India reports the highest figures for stunting and one third of all girls in the country suffer the condition, according to the report. the reason of children being stunted in India is the cause of extreme and rapidly growing poverty which leads to parents to be unable to buy food for their children.
Another thing that I liked about your article was the fact that you stated that “children should be provided with a hassle-free childhood so that they can grow to their full potential”. The factors that affect child labour are mortality among children under five years of age, malnutrition that stunts growth, lack of education, early marriage, adolescent births, displacement by conflict and child homicide. Grace Abott once said, “Child labour and poverty are inevitably bound together and if you continue to use the labour of children as the treatment for the social disease of poverty, you will have both poverty and child labour to the end of time”.
However, what we people think is that child labour is wrong, but we never try to know the real reason for child labour in our country. The first and the biggest reason, which is as you and everyone else has stated, is that “child labour’s main cause is poverty”. This fact is clearly stated by UNICEF and many others. The report notes that in rural and impoverished parts of developed and undeveloped parts of the world, children have no real and meaningful alternative, schools and teachers are unavailable so child labour is the unnatural result. A BBC report similarly, states poverty and inadequate public education infrastructure the causes of child labour in India.
Another factor which drives children to this detrimental labour is the lack of availability and quality of schooling in India. Many communities, especially the rural areas do not possess adequate schooling facilities. Although sometimes schools are available, they are too far away, difficult to reach, unaffordable or the quality of education is so poor that parents and guardians wonder if the schools are really worthwhile. Even in government schools, when children show up, the teachers do not show up 25% of the time. The 2008 ILO study suggests that illiteracy resulting from a child going to work, rather than a quality primary and secondary school, limits the child’s ability to get a basic educational grounding which would in normal situations enable them to acquire skills and to improve their prospects of a decent and adequate adult working life.
At the end, I would like to say only one thing that child labour is a crime. When a child is asked or forced to do work that interferes and deprives him of his childhood activities like playing and studying. Childhood is a part of a human life in which he enjoys the pleasures of life and parents love and pampering, he is not supposed to be earning, making building, breaking stones at that very age. To raise awareness upon the following issue and to minimise the work done by children, “World Day Against Child Labour” is celebrated on 12 June every year and is an International Labour Organization sanctioned holiday to everyone. “Child labour perpetuates poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, population growth, and other social problems”- Kailash Satyarthi, the first Indian peace Laurette.
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