One of the major problems that India faces amongst many is that of Child Labour. The law says that it is illegal to hire a child below the age of 14 years for any economic activity. But, there have been so many instances that we have come across small children working at roadside dhabas or small shops and done nothing about it. A child of 8 is not supposed to be serving tea at a stall; he should be out playing with his fellow mates or studying. A huge chunk of India’s population within the age group 5-14 are indulged in working at a cracker factory, tea stall, dhabas, local shops, domestic labour and many more. Not only this, children are also kept as bonded labourers in many places where they are treated as slaves. Needless to say, Child labour is wrong, not only because it spoils the future of the child but, it also harms him or her mentally, physically and socially.
“I have been working since I was 12. I came from Bihar and had to look for work as my family there did not have money.” – says Shiva, a domestic worker.
“My dad used to work in a house. We never had enough money to finish our education. All my brother and sisters (5 of them) are working somewhere.” -Says Jay, a domestic worker who is now 17, but, started working at a very young age.
The main reason why child labour exists is the poor economic condition of their families in both urban and rural areas. Moreover, children provide for cheap labour and can be easily manipulated.
People need to realise the importance of education and make sure that the child is in not living in poor social and cultural background. He or she should be given the right to study and not forced to work. Here, the government plays a very major role. It is important that the government makes stricter rules about punishing those who engage in child labour; efforts should be made to increase the educational levels by spreading awareness. There are various NGOs that have come up whose mission is to eradicate child labour and give children the future they deserve. But, there still are rivers to cross before the boat of prosperity sails on Indian waters.
Let us all fight together in helping a child realize his dream and bring an end to this social evil.