Paragraphs on Child Labor in India!
The Planning Commission’s report on Child labour says that according to the 2001 Census there are 1.26 crores economically active children in the age-group of 5-14 years.
Among the states, Uttar Pradesh accounts for a larger share of close to one fourth of all child labour in India followed by Andhra Pradesh.
Maharastra and West Bengal respectively garnered nine and eight percent of India’s child employment. The share of Uttar Pradesh has dramatically shot up in the last one decade from less than 13 per cent in the mid-1990s to close to 23 per cent in 2004-05, which is a cause for concern.
On the other hand, the share of Andhra Pradesh seems to have declined quite considerably during this period. Though there are clear provisions in our Constitution to safeguard the interest of children by ensuring that they receive education and are not forced to work for a living, it is unfortunate that the problem of child labour exists to a large extent in our country. In fact, child labour is the result of various ills in the society.
Poverty and illiteracy are two such manifestations, which are visible but there are many other factors inbuilt in our society, like the position of women in the family, traditional and cultural practices and feudal attitudes in the country, perpetuating this problem.
The Global Picture:
The most recent estimates suggest 127 million boys and 88 million girls are involved in child labour with 74 million boys and 41 million girls in the worst forms. National laws or regulations in countries differ from one to another.
Some countries may permit the employment of 13-15 year olds in light work which is neither prejudicial to school attendance, nor harmful to a child’s health or development. In yet other countries children in the ages 12-14 can apply for light work. Still other countries prescribe a minimum age of 14 for becoming employed.
India’s Latest Approach to Child Labour: 12th Plan:
The strategy for dealing with Child Labour during the 12th Five Year Plan Period has been formulated based on the suggestions given by the members of the working group in the two meetings conducted on 27th May and 8th July 2011. The broad highlights of the suggestions are:
1. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act should be strengthened and amended.
2. The problems of working children of the migratory families should be addressed. Child labour survey should specifically capture migration of children. Residential schools should be opened in each Metro and Mega cities and also in every district.
3. It is important to run residential schools for rehabilitation of child labour.
4. The NCLP (National Child Labour Project) Scheme should expand further to a large geographical coverage.
5. Emphasis should be given to the monitoring and tracking of NCLP school children.
6. The convergence approach should be followed to enhance social protection and welfare measures for working children.
7. The NCLP Scheme should be realigned in the light of Right to Education Act 2009. The teachers of the
8. NCLP Special schools should be properly trained.
9. Three tier Monitoring Committee at the District, State and National level should be made for effective implementation and monitoring of the NCLP Scheme.
The NCLP Scheme:
The NCLP Scheme (National Child Labour Project), which began with a modest number of only 12 districts, has been progressively extended to various parts of the country with the coverage of 271 districts in 21 States Of the country. It is functioning in 18 districts of Taimilnadu also.
There have been demands from various States for expanding the coverage of NCLP Scheme to more districts, there is, therefore, a need to expand the Scheme in all the 600 districts in the country.
Right to Education:
India’s landmark Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (RTE) has been hailed universally as an essential foundation to ensure that all children are in school and out of child labour.
Education for all was unanimously agreed as a target towards reaching the goal of elimination of child labour, in addition to scaling up efforts through poverty reduction, social protection and building political commitment to tackling child labour.
The 12th Plan Proposal of the Planning Commission calls for an effective alignment of the NCLP Scheme with the provisions of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE Act, 2009).
Accordingly, the NCLP Schools will serve as Special Training Centre for un-enrolled and out-of-school children in accordance with the provisions of Section 4 of the RTE Act and Rule 5 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Rules, 2010.
For this purpose, all such children will be admitted to a neighborhood school of the State Government/local authority. After such admission, the children will undergo the special training for being mainstreamed into the regular school in an age appropriate class.
World Day against Child Labour 2012:
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is commemorating World Day against Child Labour here on 12 June, 2012. The theme for this year is- “justice for children – end child labour”.
The aim of commemorating this day is to highlight the need to protect the rights of the child and eliminate child labour and other violations of fundamental rights of children, in all forms.
The World Day against Child Labour was launched by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in 2002 to generate awareness about the practice of child labour in different sectors. ILO estimates that there are 21.8 crore child labourers worldwide.
The Government of India’s 2001 census estimated that 1.27 crore are involved in child labour. This means that about 3.6% of the total labour force in India is constituted by children!
By entering the labour market prematurely, they are deprived of education and training that can help to lift them, their families and communities out of a cycle of poverty. As child labouers they are exposed to physical, psychological or moral suffering that can cause long term damage to their lives.
This year the World Day against Child Labour will provide a spotlight on the right of all children to be protected from child labour and from other violations of fundamental human rights.
In 2010 the international community adopted a Roadmap for achieving elimination of the worst forms of Child labour by 2016. This document stressed that child labour is an impediment to children’s rights and a barrier to develop.
About India’s Child Rights Index:
The country’s first ‘national child rights index’ has labelled Meghalaya along with other states in the region among the ‘worst performing states as far as implementation of child rights is concerned.
Like the Human Development Index, education index, hunger index and health index now, the Child Rights Index attempts assess how different states and union territories fare in providing child friendly policies and where they stand in terms of securing the rights of children.
In the Child Rights Index, the states have been ranked on 10 major indicators- birth registration, sex ratio, early childhood care, child marriage, child labour, education, health, incidence of crime against children, victims of crime against children and crimes by children. The index looked into all aspects of child well-being in all sectors and indicators for realisation of child rights as a whole.
The ranking of states was not done on the basis of absolute numbers, but in proportion to the number of children in the states. So, though a state may perform well in absolute numbers, it figured low on the index.
The index showed that the so-called world-class city needed to do much more to secure the rights of its children. The index pointed out the states that lag behind in child rights’ indicators. It will help ascertain areas of intervention, issues as well as geographical regions that need attention in the coming five-year plan.
The Child Rights Index (CRI) released by NGO HAQ placed Kerala at the top of the National Child Rights Index, followed by Karnataka. Arunachal Pradesh is the worst performer in protecting the rights of children.
The NGO’s report is based on government data — both central and state — which was collated and studied to decide the index. The results threw up some interesting information such as: Uttar Pradesh has the highest head count of working children in the country.
Rating on the Basis of Gender Equality:
Despite its high literacy rate, Kerala was ranked last in gender equality in prevention of child marriages, and had a high percentage of girls (under 18) getting married. On the other hand, West Bengal, which was the worst performing state in education, was also the worst performer in gender equality, and fared poorly in prevention of girl child marriages as well.
Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu too were ranked poorly in child marriage. Though poverty was one of the reasons for the continued prevalence of child marriages, it was not the case always, the report said.
For instance, Maharashtra, one of the highest in economic growth, too was poorly ranked in child marriage. In fact, some of the poor states ranked high on the prevention of child marriage index. The best performers were Punjab, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
Rating on the Basis of Crime against Children:
Karnataka is the best state for children to live in as it has the least number of cases of crime against children, followed by Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan. While crimes against children are highest in Nagaland (in proportion to the number of children), and Manipur is the worst performer in crimes by children.
Despite being ostensibly backward on social sector parameters, Bihar is ranked number 1 when it comes to crimes committed by children. It has the least number of such cases. Crimes against children included infanticide, murder, rape, kidnapping and abduction, foeticide, abetment of suicide, exposure and abandonment, buying and selling of minor girls for prostitution and child marriage.
Rating on the basis of health facility:
Kerala and Goa, the two best performing States in health, are performing poorly in the provision of health infrastructure. Himachal Pradesh, one of the five best States in health care, ranks among the last five in HIV/AIDS intervention.
The ranking has a regional pattern: four of the five best performing States – Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh – are from the southern region. Maharashtra alone is from the west.
On the other hand, all the worst performing States are in the Northeast: Sikkim, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. In fact, of the five States falling in the not-so-well performing States category, Tripura, Assam and Mizoram are from the Northeast. They are performing badly in almost indicators.
A significant proportion of the population of the worst performing States, which are performing badly in education, are tribal’s: Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh are tribal-dominated, with indigenous groups constituting 26.3 per cent and 64.2 per cent of the population.
This is also true of health, wherein the five worst performing States are Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. All among them are essentially tribal States, except Uttar Pradesh.
a. Of the five states falling in the not-so-well performing states category, three of them Tripura, Assam and Mizoram are also from the North-east.
b. A significant proportion of the population of the worst performing states, which are performing badly in education, are tribal’s: Jharkhand and Arunachal Pradesh are tribal-dominated, with indigenous groups constituting roughly 26.3 per cent and 64.2 per cent of the population respectively.
c. The report stated that Uttar Pradesh had the highest head count of working children in the country. Kerala was ranked last in gender equality in prevention of child marriages and stands ninth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) status. Maharashtra, which ranks first in the GDP, occupies the third position in protection of child rights.
d. One point that stands out in the indexing – the first of its kind in the country – is that economic growth does not necessarily improve the well-being of children. Jharkhand is the only state whose economic status matches its child rights rank – both at 17.
e. Kerala, which ranks first in the national child rights, stands ninth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) status, whereas Maharashtra, which ranks first in the GDP, is third in child rights.
f. Maharashtra does badly in sex ratio and child marriage, which points to the lack of attention to children.
g. Arunachal Pradesh has performed fairly well in sex ratio, child marriage and early childhood care.
h. With the second highest GDP in the country, Uttar Pradesh ranks 18th in child rights and 27th in the provision of health care, next only to Jharkhand. Surprising facts the indexing has thrown up are that Mizoram is doing badly in controlling child labour, while crimes against children are the highest in Nagaland (in proportion to the number of children). An interesting observation is that Manipur is the worst performer when it comes to crimes by children while Bihar has been declared to be the best.
i. The index was timed to coincide with the 12th Five Year Planning process to identify the states that still lag behind in protecting child rights, and highlight the specific areas – geographical and sectoral – that pull them down.
Performance of the National Capital:
(a) New Delhi ranked 12 in the country when it comes to ensuring well-being of children. Delhi’s lead in providing education to children is offset by its poor pupil-teacher ratio of 1:100.
As far as the incidence of crime against children and crimes by children is concerned, Delhi again ranked 19th. It ranked 17 on the index which takes into account the victims of crimes. Delhi ranks second in the index on child labour.
While the index showed Delhi on the top of the list in two indicators, namely education and birth registrations, it tumbles to the bottom of the list with a rank of 27 when it comes to early childhood care. The city fares poorly ranking 24 in the index for sex ratio.