India is the largest child labour force market in the world. India is the largest example plagued by the problem of child labour. The problem of child labour exploitation is a major challenge to the progress of developing countries. Children work at their cost of their right to education which leaves them permanently trapped in the poverty cycle, without the education and literacy required for better paying jobs. This is particularly serious in India as it tops the list with the highest number of child labourers in the world.
The 2001 national census of India estimated the total number of child labourers , aged 5-14 to be at 12.6 million. Out of the 12.6 million, 0.12 million engaged in hazardous jobs. However, according to informal labour force statistics, the problem seems to be serious.
India has highest number of labourers in the world under 14 years of age. Although the constitution of India guarantees free and compulsory education to children between the age of 6 to 14 years of age and prohibits employment to children younger than 14 years in any hazardous environment, child labour is prevalent in almost all informal sectors of the Indian economy.
Poverty has obvious relationship with child labour, and studies have revealed a positive correlation as such. Poor families need money to survive, and children are a source of additional income. The twin factors responsible for child labour are poverty and the lack of a social security network. In addition to that inadequate school facilities, illiteracy also contribute to child labour.
Children are growing up illiterate because they have been working and not attending school. A cycle of poverty is formed and the need for child labour is reborn after every generation. India needs to address these problems through government and with the coordination and cooperation of the NGOs. Also proper awareness to parents.
Juhi Singh SCIT MBA ITBM (2013-15)