India sadly is home to the largest number of child labor in the world. The census found an increase in the number of child laborers from 11.28 million in 1991 to 12.59 in 2001.
Poverty and lack of social security are the main causes of child labor. The increasing gap between rich and poor, privatization of basic services and the neo-liberal economic policies causes major sections of the population out of the employment and without basic needs. This affects children more than any other group of people. Lack of quality education is one of the prime reason for such social abuse. No proper regulation of laws and ineffective governance leads to hazardous labor. Special Economic zones; loss of jobs parents in a slowdown, farmers’ suicide; armed conflict and high costs of health care.
Due to urbanization, people are using children for domestic workers. Low wages, resembling situations of slavery, cases of physical, sexual and emotional abuse of child, are the events linked with child labor.
According to Centre for Child rights, child labor is highest among schedule tribes, Muslims, schedule castes and OBC children. The persistence of child labor is due to inefficiency of the laws, because it benefits employers to reduce general wage levels.
Bonded child labor is a hidden phenomenon as a majority of them are found in the informal sector. Bonded laborers in India are mostly migrant workers, which opens them up to more exploitation. Bonded child laborers are at very high risk for physical and sexual abuse, if neglected leads to death. They often are psychologically and mentally disturbed and have not learnt many social skills or survival skills.
Vruta Chotalia SCIT MBA (ITBM) 2013-15