A full century. 100 years. Almost 2 generations of human lives. That is the timeline we are looking at. The timeline when, going by present trends, the menace of child labour in India might be ended.
Every year, thousands of innocent boys and girls are conscripted into bonded slavery. Every year, voices are raised against the enslaving of young children. And yet every year the traffic shows no discernible slack. In fact, India can lay claim to the gruesome feather in its hat of being the country with the highest number of child labourers in the World!
Child Labour in India has Actually Increased in Many Areas
A recent analysis by CRY (Child Rights and You) of census data shows that the overall decrease in child labour is only 2.2 per cent year on year. And this is not over the past 2, 3 or 5 years. This decrease is over the last 10 years!
CRY’s analysis has also unearthed a massively unsettling data – that child labour has increased by more than 50 per cent in urban areas. India is a country with 32% urban population; an expectation of which is a society that is better educated, has greater social awareness, and has more moral responsibility. For it to be revealed that it is this population that employs the largest chunk of child labour is alarming!
Official reports say that India has over 15 million child labourers employed in the rural areas as cultivators or in household industries, and in the urban areas as servants and even in construction. Delhi, the capital of the country, is accountable for over 1 million of these child labourers by itself. The other leading states with such deplorable conditions are Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. UP, according to the report by CRY, has had a 13 per cent growth in child labour in the last decade.
Child Labour Highest Amongst Backward Classes
HAQ: Centre for Child Rights says that child labour is highest among the OBC section, Muslims, schedule castes and scheduled tribes. Bonded child labour in the rural areas is still a raging phenomenon and very cleverly hidden from any legal or prying eyes. The old traditions of debt inheritance have in no way faded in rural India. Below is a look at the educational statuses of these children.
The findings of the NGO Mamidipudi Venkatarangaiya Foundation in Andhra Pradesh show around 400,000 children, most of whom are females, spend more than 15 hours a day toiling in cottonseed plantations across the nation. Their reports also show that precious stone cutting industries in India use children to make up 40 per cent of their labour force. These children are all between 7 and 14 years of age.
The State of Education and General Indifference
Lack of infrastructure, slow social development, inconsistent financial conditions, and overall poverty are the main pillars that still uphold the abhorrent violation of the rights of children. Coupled with indifference of people in the urban areas and the greed of human nature to make maximum profits with minimum expenditure, the is a cause that is crying out for help. Child labour is a bleeding issue that, if not redressed immediately, will become the bane of this country.
Here are a few more insights that shed light into the dismal living conditions of the poorer levels of society, which is the primary cause of children being thrown into the monstrous cycle of labour at too young an age, deprived of education or a chance at making a better life for themselves and their future generations. This vicious trap is an almost endless cycle.
This substantial report was carried out by CRY.org which you can read below: