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Krishna Kumar Singh, also known among friend circles KK and among close relative Krishna; Matriculation from Mithila High School Balour, Darbhanga in 1959, Graduated in Political Science Honours from C M College, Darbhanga, Bihar University in 1963; Joined post-graduate in Political Science the same year but dropped; joined Naxal movement under Charu Mazumdar, Kanu Sanyal, Satya Narayan Singh and Umadhar Singh in between but circumstances compelled to join literary work, clerk, proof readers etc in different publishing houses for livelihood; Finally joined journalism as career in different English newspapers and before my retirement from active journalism, I worked in The Times of India for about 19 years and retired as Chief Reporter  a few years back; continuing in journalism-reading more and more, writing more and more and praying to Almighty more and more-currently writing for different national English and Hindi dailies and magazines..

Friday, 30 November 2012

CHILD LABOUR, A BIGGEST CURSE IN INDIA!

It is common refrain that children are messengers of the God, They are the future of the country! But in India ,children among the marginal and middle classes, totalling over 87 percent particularly are most neglected lot in the  country ! Prevalent of child labour is highest in India. If we take into account the census data of 2001, in every 10 workers in India, one is a child. These children are in the age-group of the 5-14 years. Children are abducted, kidnapped and allured in a big way in the country according to a International Labour Organisation (ILO)  report and a revealing story  in the Washington Post. They are forced into  labour and sexual exploitation. In the process over 90000 children are missing for the last several years in India-(My blog Topic-headlined , 90000 Children missing in India! written on September 25, 2012). Instead of shaping the destiny of the children by providing them food, health provisions and education, they are forced into child labour. Worse is the scenario among children below the age of five years. They are malnourished and die every year in huge number because of absence of medical facilities despite the facts that both union government and state  government have been claiming large number of measures for the welfare of children in the country!

In 2004-05, the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) had put the figure of child labour 8.9 million. Since than there have been no significant change in the situation for improvement. Hosts of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have assessed that the  child labour  over 60 million in India. What ever may be case, India is the largest employer of child labour. Over 80 percent of child labour are not visible as they work in the unorganised sectors including within family or in house-hold work. As per the NSSO survey in 2004-05, six percent children work in dhabas. restaurants, hotels , motels etc; 15 percent as domestic workers;   construction-17 percent;  ceramic-two percent;  auto-work-shop and vehicle repiars-four percent;  carpet making- three percent; gem-cutting and jewellery-three percent; brick -klin and tiles-seven percent;; spinning and weaving-11 percent;; pan biddhi and cigarettes workshops-21 percent; agarbatti, dhoop and detergent making-one percent and others-11 percent.

If one sees the poor plight of children world-wide,  in the context of India as particular; poverty is the main cause of child labour. More than one billion people globally live on less than one$ a day! Number of poor are greatest in the South-East Asia.. Over 186 million child including India in the world under age 15 years are engaged in child labour.  The Asia-Pacific region is most notorious on this score. About 150 million children in 5-17 age group are engaged in the worse -type of work globally. Apart from that decreasing trend in providing education  to children is also one of factors of child labour in the world. One hundred three million children of elementary school age are out of school. Of them 60 percent are girls. In sum and total, world illiteracy population is 799 million. Lack of employment  avenues throughout the world is also  one of the major factors of engagement of child labour. Employment potentialities is decreasing even in most advanced countries of Europe and America. Over 184.7 million people are unemployed in the globe among adult, resulting into forcing children in doing work in unorganised sectors for the livelihood of the family members.

Child labour has strange connotation in economic term. Children participate in the work, that is called economic activities as their participation results in the production of goods and service that grows the economy! In India Child labour is mainly due to acute poverty among 78 percent of population mainly in the rural areas. About 90 percent of children, engaged in child labour, are from rural areas of the country. Children from lower caste and minority community are majority in child labour because of their exploitation in the country. They are mostly from illiterate section of society. Girl child are also engaged in such work in rural house-holds of big and landed class people. More over a survey of NSSO has indicated that in India 32 percent children, who are considered "no where" in government record of schools nor at identified work places or at their homes are actually working as child labour , hiding their identity. In the country like India where facilities for education is at minimum level from government side at cheap rate, education is bought on high premium. Thus, their parents allow them for child labour for earning in unorganised sectors because they cannot afford education of such high cost. To some extend , similar situation prevails in other South-east Asian countries. A UNICEF report has said , " international trade appears to be associated with lower incidence of child labour. Some studies indicate that globalisation may increase the demand for unskilled labours in the countries that specialise in labour-intensive industries. In this way, such demand of unskilled labour, may increase in the child labour throughout the globe, particularly In India where globalisation and neo-liberal policies are being implemented indiscriminately."


The  Bachpan Bachao Andolan, which is doing wonderful work for the welfare of the children in India, is of the opinion that a profit of around Rs 1,20,000 crore is made by employers of child labour annually in India. These income are not on records to evade taxes." Six crore child labour substitute a similar number of adults in the job market. As per government estimates, Rs 15 is spent on child labour a day while as per the national floor wage, an adult labourers must be paid Rs 115 per day. For 250 working days, the wage cost work out to Rs 18,000 crore for child workers and Rs 1,38,00 crore for adults. The differences of Rs 1,20,000 crore is undeclared profit." the Andolan paper says.

Not only hat there are instances of coersive measures by ownerss of work places on chilren for work more and moee even during odd hours. In many cases children have become sick and died while working. Such reports are rampant with Bihari child labours engsaged in Delhi, Punjab , Haryana, many towns of Uttar Pradesh , Madras etc. In some cases, children have been rescued from these places .Surprisigly , even at the houses of urban elites, inavriably the instances of child labour are found. One may find that small children serving the guests and house-hold owners their meals, tea etc after preparing in the kitechens, . In many cases , exploitation of these child labour are at the height. They are beaten mercilessly by the house-hold owners. In rural areas, child labour  is in abundance. Both male and female child labour are found working at the houses of rich and landowing classes people.Girl child labour are sexually abused and sold to brothel owners at many places.

Regretably the child Labour Act covers only in organised sectors. Whereas child labour are engaged in unporgansed sectors. No doubt the Union government has taken many measures like enactment  of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and the Right to Education Act to curb child labour but nothing tangible appears  on the surface to eliminate the child labour in the country!

SOURCES: International Labour Organisation, Bachpan Bachao Andolan, The Economics of Child Labour by Kaushik Basu and and Hoang Van Pham, The Economics of Child Labour by Xinye Zheng National Sample Suvey oginisation, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Childline Foundation of India, Economic and Political Weekly, Frontline, International Centre on Child Labour and Education.

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