Since the adoption of a National Child Labour Policy in 1987, the Government of India has spearheaded a major child labour elimination programme through its flagship National Child Labour Projects (NCLP). Thus far, 150 NCLPs have been launched across the country to provide educational and other rehabilitation services to children withdrawn from hazardous industries. The programme is supplemented by a budgetary allocation by the Government of Rs6,020 million (about US$131 million) during the Tenth Five-Year Plan 2002-07 to cover 250 districts out of a total of 601 districts during the plan period. The national programme is complemented by efforts aiming at universal elementary education, whilst several major states (provincial governments) are implementing time-bound programmes for the elimination of child labour. India has been participating in IPEC since 1992 and, building on the experience, a comprehensive and large-scale project on child labour – INDUS – is now being implemented by the federal and state governments, with support from IPEC in 20 districts of four large states. The project is co-fi nanced by the Government of India and the United States Department of Labor. It aims to develop an integrated multi-sectoral approach through several components dealing with education, training and income generation for poor families. The project has a strong partnership approach, involving the social partners in particular.
CHILD LABOUR IN INDIA- A Report Special Reference-Construction Industry
According to the 'National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development' Child Labour is economically unsound, psychologically disastrous and physically as well as morally dangerous and harmful. It involves the use of labour at its points of lowest productivity and is there, an inefficient utilisation of labour power. Child labour precludes the full unfoldment of a child's potentialities. It deprives him/her of education, training and skills which are the necessary prerequisites of earning power and economic development. A working child is denied the opportunity to educate himself.
Indian Constitution Say
According to Article 24 of the Indian constitution, "No Child below the age of 14 (fourteen) years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment."
Indian Labour Laws & Child Labour
1881 — Factory Act — below 7 years of age not allowed to work.
1933— Factory Act — amended minimum age for work raised to 15 yrs.
1948— Factory Act — amended again minimum age for work reduced to 14 yrs.
1950— 'Central Minimum Wage Rule' recommended for 4 hours duty in a day for child labour. 1986— 'Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 — mentioned minimum working hours for a child in a day will be 6 hours (section 7) with an interval of 1 hour after continuous work for 3 hours.
Law breakers punishment (Section-14)
(1) Rs. 10,000/- to Rs. 20,000/- fine and
(2) One month to 12 month jail.
There is total bann on Child Labour engagement in Building & Construction Industry as per Section 3 of 'Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986'
Section 12 of 'Building and Other Construction Workers' (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act 1996.
There are some other Labour Laws which deal about child labour besides the Acts mentioned above —
1) Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act, 1966.
2) Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976.
3) Minimum wages Act, 1948.
4) Plantations Labour Act, 1991 5) Mines Act, 1952
Extent of Child Labour in India
As per census report
1971— 1.07 crores (5-14 yrs child)
1981 — 1.36 crores (5-14 yrs child)
1991 —1.70 crores (5-14 yrs child)
2001 — 2.05 crores (5-14 Yrs child)
But as per other sources the total child labour in different industries and service sector is about 5 crores in our country.
In Construction Industry in India about 4-7 lakh child labour engaged in work. They are in unskilled manual job. These child labour used to move from one place to another along with their parents.
Participation rates of total male, female children in school, labour force-See chart
ILO statistics As per Global Report on Child Labour —
In 2004 there were 218 million child labourers globally fell by 11% in the last four years, while that of children in hazardous work decreased by 26%.
Causes of Child Labour in India
1. Poverty and unemployment.
2. No land reform in most of the states.
3. Unequal distribution of Assets;
4. Non implementation of Government declared minimum wage;
5. Non extention of existing social security benefits as per laws of the land;
6. The low literacy levels of adults;
7. The legacy of the Zamindari system and prevalance of bonded labour;
8. General acceptance of the society in engagment of child labour.
Child labour— Nature of Job
In building & construction industry these child labour used to do the following type of work
a. earth cutting,
b. bucket carrying,
c. brick stacking,
d. brick loading and unloading,
e. helper to Mason, Carpenter, Painter, Plumber,
f. helper to cook for preparing food at the work site,
g. Prepare tea and supply,
h. Operation of water pump etc.
Benefits (1) extended to these Child labour
Practically speaking these child labourers are not getting Govt. declared minimum wage, other statutory benefits as they are under 18 years of age.
These Labour did not get opportunities for sports & recreation and primary education too.
The girld child labours are sometimes in some projects become victim of sexual harrassment. In some states these child labour when moved along with their parents from one district to another one state to another they are being treated as
Government Role Against Child Labour The National Policy on child labour envisages the focusing of different development and welfare programmes under project based plans of action (National child labour project or NCLPS) in areas with high concentration of child labour. NCLP work covered 133 child labour endemic districts covering 13 States.
A National Authority for the Elimination of child Labour has already been constituted by the Govt. of India to facilitate coordination and convergence of poverty alleviation health and education programme targeting child Labour and family.
December 1996 Supreme Court Judgement directing the Union and State Govts. to indentify all child labourers working in hazardous processes and occupation withdraw them from work and provide them with quality education. Employers engaging children in hazardous industries are required to pay Rs. 20,000.00 to a child labour welfare-cum-Rehabilitation Fund for each child worker found employed.
The State Govt. is required to provide employment to an adult member of the child Labourer's failing which it must contribute Rs. 5000.00 to the welfare fund.
Inspite of this judgement and GOI policy dicisions the problem of child labour not reduced.
Role of the Employer
Specially I like to refer here the attitude of thousands of small & medium size contractors are not positive in accordance with GOI policy declaration for eradication of child Labour.
The Labour suppliers are used to supply child labour along with other adult workers in earth cutting, site leveling and masonary work.
You will find child labour in all the big construction projects at the initial stage.
Role of the Unions
CITU and our Federation took this issue with due importance and campaign all over India alone and through ILO-IPEC campaign programme as follows -
1. Industry level, State level, National level workers convention;
2. Organise media campaign by video films, audio cassattes, Street plays;
3. Issue Leaflet and posters in regional languages;
4. Parliament March with mass signature Campaign;
ILO Global Goal and Targets ( finalised in 95th Session in 2006)
The action plan proposes that ILO and its member states continue to persue the goal of effective abolition of Child labour by committing themselves to theelimination of all worst forms of child labour by 2016. To this effect, all member states would, in accordance with Convention No. 182, design and put in place appropriate time-bound measures by the end of 2008.
The proposed action plan rests on three pillars:
1. Supporting national responses to child labour, in particular through more effective mainstreaming of child labour concerns in national development and policy frame works,
2.deepening and strengthening the world-wide movement as a catalyst; and
3.promoting further integration of child labour concern within overall ILO priorities.