Can we eliminate child labour? Though it is a desirable goal the fact remains that in the given socio-economic scenario that is prevalent in our country, it is virtually impossible to do away with child labour. One cannot dispute the fact that employers exploit children by paying them much less than what they would pay in adult and the future of the working children is ruined as they will not be able to attend schools and get educated for a better future.
India accounts for the second highest number where child labour in the world is concerned. Africa accounts for the highest number of children employed and exploited. The fact is that across the length and breadth of the nation, children are in a pathetic condition. While experts blame the system, poverty, illiteracy, adult unemployment; yet the fact is that the entire nation is responsible for every crime against a child. Instead of nipping the problem at the bud, child labour in India was allowed to increase with each passing year. And today, young ones below the age of 14 have become an important part of various industries; at the cost of their innocence, childhood, health and for that matter their lives.
Child Labour working in farms, or as a bonded labour or as a herdsman has an adverse impact on the employment of adult people. People feel that child provides something to eat to a family. This is a general feeling among the rural masses about Child Labour. The common understanding among this labour class is more working hands means more income for a family.
Child labour is the employment of children as wage earners. It became a serious social problem during the Industrial Revolution in Britain during the 1700′;;s, and the problem spread to other countries as they became industrialized. The problem first began when children, many below the age of 10, were employed by factories and mines. The children were forced to work long hours under dangerous and unhealthy conditions, and their wages were very little.
Though elimination of child labour is an impossible task in the current socio-economic scenario, the Indian government is committed to the task of ensuring that no child remains illiterate, hungry and without medical care. When this ideal will be achieved is a million dollar question. The development countries are exerting pressure on developing countries like India to eliminate child labour. According to the current thinking the developed countries may stop imports of those goods that involve child labour in their production.
In the latter part of the 20th century, child labour remains a serious problem in many parts of the world. Many of these children live in underdeveloped countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Their living conditions are crude and their chances for education minimal. The income they bring in is, however, necessary for the survival of their families. In other cases, children are bonded, working to pay off an initial cash advance from the employer with escalating interest which leaves them effectively slaves.