Issues Relating To Child Labour


By

S. Prabakar
M.A. (S.W.), M.L.M., M.B.A.
Assistant Professor (Human Resources)
Department of Management Studies
Karpagam College of Engineering
Coimbatore-32
 


INTRODUCTION

"India is a developing nation". It may be true in certain areas or issues. But, when it comes to literacy, per capita income, social justice, child labour, infrastructure facilities, social awareness, India cannot project itself as a developing country, but has to call itself as an underdeveloped country. Among the above mentioned problems, child labour is continued to be a more serious problem which hampers the health and growth of the child (i.e.) the growth of future India. Moreover, the mind set of the Indian's who worry only about themselves and not about the society in which they live in is a major cause for the social evils like child labour to prevail continuously.

Child labour implies that who are in the age group below 14 yrs and who work for themselves or for their family for an income and who contribute a significant share to the labour force of India.

May be the GDP of India has grown significantly during the recent years, but it cannot be proudly stated that the entire contribution is by the adult labour force. This is a serious problem which has to be curtailed through social engineering and transformation of ideas among the people in the society.

Among the total child labour force, a significant portion of them work in organized sector which is governed by all social security legislations and government appointed inspectors like Inspector of Factories PF Inspector, ESI Inspector, and their higher ups. If this is the fate in the organized sector, it is not necessary for us to think about the children working in their own families or in an unorganized sector.

REASONS FOR CHILD LABOUR AND THE STRATEGIES TO

OVERCOME IT

The following are the major reasons for child labour in India and. strategies to overcome it.

a) Inhumane attitude of 'the employers

The managements of the corporate/organized sector have an inhumane attitude towards children, as their only intention is to make profits at the costs of children's health and growth without a moral or social responsibility.

Children come to work or parents send them to work due to poverty and this is exploited by the organized sectors These corporate do not even think that the health and growth of a child is being pampered as they employ them, but think only about the percentage of profits they can make out of this cheap labour.

The official/governmental machinery which is to prevent child labour are just puppets in the hands of the job providers and are onlookers of this social injustices after getting their individual needs fulfilled by them.

Strategies to be adopted

The following strategies may be adopted to curtail this injustice made to children.

  • People from the organized sector should not entertain child labour at the first instance and make it as their policy, so that generations together may not follow it.
  • If they are forced to employ children, due to competition, or any other business situation, they should take care of the children by offering them jobs which may not be health hazardous, and easy to be performed so that their health does not get affected.
  • They may reduce the working hours of the children and offer them free education and free food, so that they grow parallely along with their job, both physically and mentally.
  • There are professional business houses and corporate which expand, diversify they make their growth overseas without employing child labour. The organized sector should learn business lessons to make their profits, from them, by adopting their strategy or formulate tailormade strategies with the help of them. The professional business houses should also help the organized sector to formulate their strategies as a corporate social responsibility towards prevention of child labour.
  • "To make profits is business, to do profiteering is not business. It is exploitation". It is nothing wrong in expanding or diversifying or utilizing new business opportunities but the job providers should not think of creating assets for generations together as this may force them to indulge in all unethical practices including child labour.
  • When employers pay their employees, they should have at least a minimum consideration on The Payment of Wages Act, The Minimum Wages Act, The Equal Remuneration Act, because if they are paid with a minimum salary they may not be in a position to send their children for work, by which, they may play a vital role in the eradication of child labour.

LACK OF AWARNESSS AMONG THE PARENTS:

Parents of the children who send them to work may be illiterates who are not much awareness of the consequences of child labour to the child, to their family and in total to the society.

Poverty may also be one of the reasons but the parent should take up a moral responsibility of not shouldering their financial burden on the shoulders of the children.

Unplanned family may also be one of the reasons for the parents to send their children for work and there are instances where parents give birth to more children as all the children together can contribute for a larger income for the family.

STRATEGIES TO BE ADOPTED:

  • Large corporate houses along with the NGO's and the government must help in creating awareness among the parents about the evils of child labour.
  • Awareness about the legislations against child labour should be created among the parents.
  • The children should be made aware of this rights and privileges and when forced to work, the avenues to get rid of it.
  • Individual campaigning, group campaigning, family campaigning may be resorted to educate parents, children and the promoters of business houses.

INEFFICENT GOVERNMENT MACHINERY AND ITS LEGISLATIONS:

Legislations are enacted to protect the evils in the society along with loop holes to bypass it. They must be enacted in such a way that, not a single citizen of India should think of neglecting the provisions in the legislations.

The governmental personnel who are responsible in administering the provisions of the legislations have a neglecting attitude as they are not given adequate protection when they discharge their duties.

Political pressure from the politicians of the ruling government and opposition parties contribute in a significant way by preventing the government, the official machinery and by helping the managements to continue with the evils of child labour without eradicating it.

STRATEGIES TO BE FOLLOWED:

Severe provisions may be made in the enactments like closing down of the organization, attaching the assets of the promoters of the organization to the government to rehabilitate the students who were working in that organization.

Government staffs may be given due power and they should be dismissed from their jobs with a fine and imprisonment if they are found guilty of neglecting their duties within their jurisdiction.

Legislations like Goondas Act or as a nonbailable offence should be enacted and administrated against the erring business promoters, parents, government officials and labour contractors, if any.

WAYS TO ADOPT STRATEGIES:

Following ways may be adopted to implement the strategies suggested.

CORPORATE/BUSINESS HOUSES AND ORGANISED SECTORS:

  • Performance based incentives and increments may be adopted as a HR policy, so that the efficiency increases and the organizations may not seek to adopt child labour to increase their profits.
  • If the employers are forced to use child labour, due to various situations, they may allocate a portion of their available surplus of profits to spend in maintaining the growth and health of the children whom they employ.
  • The employers can apportion ate a certain percentage of their profits, and help the government in eradicating child labour and the government may in turn give a tax rebate to the organization who do not use children as labour.

GOVERNMENT:

  • The government should provide safety to the staff who implements the legislations against child labour by taking care of their family and dependents, if anything untoward happens to him/her.
  • Inspector of factories should be given more powers of closing down the place of working, if they find that the establishment works against the provisions of the child labour legislations.
  • Punishments against erring organization should be made severe so that they may not be repeated in future. For example companies in Tirupur which were guilty of utilizing child labour have been asked to pay RS 10,000 as a fine. This amount when compared to the profits they earn through child labour is very meager and therefore this may not prevent them from using child labour.

(Source: Dinamalar-Daily Tamil Newspaper dated 03/02/2006)

AWARENESS CREATION:

  • All Medias like televisions, radios, hoardings, slide shows, documentary films should be utilized to create awareness among the general public and the parents about the evils of child labour.
  • Movies, which are a tool of mass media communication, should be utilized efficiently; this can be done by compulsorily screening the documentary films before the screening of main movie.
  • The government and the NGO's should take the responsibility of appointing/utilizing professionally trained social workers to create awareness/ through social casework and social group work.

CONCLUSION:

Any number of awareness programs or strategies cannot by itself solve this problem, unless there is an initiative, understanding and acceptance by the parents, employers and the general public that child labour is an evil to the society.

When we are finding it difficult to eliminate the practice of child labour from the organized sector, it is very difficult to think about the same in the unorganized sector and in the agriculture sector.

Improvement in the literacy rate, improved awareness among the parents, humanitarian gestures from the employers, efficient legislations and machineries to combat it are the general and open avenues which are available to eradicate child labour from our society.
 


S. Prabakar
M.A. (S.W.), M.L.M., M.B.A.
Assistant Professor (Human Resources)
Department of Management Studies
Karpagam College of Engineering
Coimbatore-32
 

Source: E-mail February 01, 2007

       

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