By Sameena Arif, MBA 10
We all love Children, isn't it? We all like to see them illuminating this world with their smiles, but how many of us like to see emaciated children with dull eyes? Children with muddy faces and rough hands, children who were never pampered, who never had that spark in their eyes that expresses the zest for life. There are children who are caressed by their mothers and are made to take healthy diet and there are some who are made to earn for a single meal a day if they chose to survive. Yes, this is also real side to this beautiful picture of a smiling child; child labour is a reality in India and it shouldn’t come to everyone as shock, for this is evident from the little shop we pass by on the neighbouring street or from every other household where little children are kept as domestic help. Now, the choice to ignore this side of the story or to spare a thought to it is ours.
Let us see, what our government did to help those little children. According to a recent notification by the ministry of labour, issued under the child labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, children will not be employed as domestic servants or as help in dhabas, restaurants, hotels, motels, tea shops, resorts, spas or in other recreational centers. Is it good news? Of course it is; after all children are the future of our country, but then is changing a law enough for national welfare? No, for what we need is a right manner of implementation of such laws.
In our country laws are changed everyday, promises are made, plans are formulated but nothing follows as planned, and promises are hardly kept. For instant lets take this issue of child labour, though a notification has been formed, but what answers do we have to the problems faced by these children, even if they do not have to work as domestic help, or at motels, or dhabas, there are no parallel arrangements made for their proper upbringing, no special planning for the education, nutrition, and shelter is made for those children, where will they go if they don’t work; what option do they have other than earning few pennies to arrange for a single meal. The employers are well aware of the condition of such homeless children and are ready to exploit them.
Statistics reveal that India has 16.57 million child labourers – the highest in the world. Data complied by CRY reveals that as much as 54% of child labour are in agricultural sector, 18% in the manufacturing sector. In spite of numerous developments India boasts of, its children are still neglected and exploited. Lack of awareness about the basic rights of a child has lead to easy violation of laws meant to protect and empower kids. There is cheap labour available in the market in form of these children, that is why Renuka Chaudhary, Legal Expert to the Ministry for Women and Child Development and State, seeks to completely ban any child working under the age of 11 years but without any support and education what can these children do to avail their basic needs.
In a country like India where children are regarded as a gift form God, it is a pity to witness such a miserable state of children. The state, the laws, the government, nothing has helped them in true sense, now its our turn, our responsibility to help these children; to do little things to move step by step to reach the goal; then from working is not a solution, what they need is someone to truly care for them, their future, their education, and nutrition. We all need to join hands and need to help these little kids in our own way. so that these young sapling grow into tlarge trees with strong roots anbedde in our metheland.
Picture Credits: Unicef