Bhubaneswar: Child Labour is highly pervasive in our country. The number of children working as child labourers is increasing continuously. The children have been employed in all kinds all sorts of dangerous works like ininduatrea as well as in agricultural fields to earn a living for their families. Despite many legal provisions being enforced to safeguard their rights, it has been limited to the papers. As per the Indian Labour Association, most children work in agriculture whereas there are stringent plans or programs implemented for the rehabilitation of child labourers. Moreover, these children get less than half of the remuneration an adult gets paid. In most cases, these children are the only source of earnings for their respective families.
The Union Ministry of Labour and Employment implemented a scheme called the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) in 1988 for the rehabilitation of child labourers. This scheme seems to be not operated properly due to its steady process and the child labourers do not get benefited from this. These children are found working in different kinds of dangerous circumstances like glass/ bangles making, utensils factories, times industries, match sticks and crackers making businesses etc. In the 9th five-year plan the union government had allotted 25 crores of money for child labourers, which is like a couch in the ocean for the rehabilitation of the children working as labourers all over the country. In the 10th five-year plan, this project was expanded to more than 150 districts in the country. In this plan Rs, 60 crores were allocated for the child labourers. Of late many child labour centres are open in different parts of the country. But alas, these centres are seen to be lacking primers supervision and care towards the special facilities reserved for the child labourers. Facilities such as education, health and alternate source of income.
India has one-third of the total number of child labourers in the world. On World Child Labour Day 2019, the slogan was that children should work on their dreams instead of working in fields. But it is well-known fact whether this slogan has made any difference in reducing the number of child labourers in the country. The law that had been enforced in the year 1986 to eradicate child labour has been in full force. The children are the future of the nation but those who are working as child labourers would be considered a big concern to the country. The operation of child labour can not be eliminated only by implementing laws against child abuse, violence against children and abduction/extortion of children. There is an urgent need of putting our thoughts on the physical, mental and intellectual development of children. The government states that it is giving free education to these children. But these are not going to school but rather prefer to work in various places. Children within the age group of 5 to 14 do not even get an adequate amount of nutrition in their everyday food let alone rehabilitation. About 70% of the child labourers in the country are employed in agriculture. These labourers should be identified, rehabilitated and provided with all the facilities implemented for them. Now, the question arises of how the families of these labourers will be fed. The most pertinent point is the safety of child labourers. Children working in industries and various other fields are prone to sexual abuse. Neither they nor their families open their mouths in fear of losing work and livelihood. It is not enough to blame the government in this regard but the families ought to take the help of the law.
The people under the below poverty line in our country are provided with various facilities by the government like the Pradhan Mantri Abas Yojana and so on. But there is no such scheme for child labourers or schemes which is there not implemented properly. Unorganised child labourers are leading a kind of cursed life. They also have the right to go to school but the pangs of hunger stop them. Both the state and the central government should give priority to the issues of these children and resolve them urgently.