Child labour in India- Need of Effective Policy making and programmatic interventions

Synopsis:  India needs to address the causative factors for Child labor through effective Policymaking and programmatic interventions. It should aim at the elimination of child labor in all its forms by 2025.

  • The Pandemic has amplified the contributing factors for Child labor in India. For instance, School lockdown, increasing unemployment, etc.,
  • However, not all the factors that contribute to child labour were created by the pandemic. Most of them were pre-existing and have been exposed or amplified by it.
  • According to Census 2011 reports, India has 10.1 million working children in the age group of 5-14 years.
  • Out of this, 8.1 million are in rural areas, mainly engaged as cultivators (26%) and agricultural laborers (32.9%).
  • Child labour causes long-term and devastating consequences on child’s education, their skill acquisition, and their future possibilities to overcome the vicious circle of poverty.
  • Effective Policymaking and programmatic interventions can save children from the misery of Child labor.
How right policymaking and programmatic interventions can reduce the instance of Child labour?
  • Child labour in India decreased in the decade 2001 to 2011 owing to right combination of policy and programmatic interventions.
  • Policy interventions such as (MGNREGA) 2005, the Right to Education Act 2009, and the Mid-Day Meal Scheme have helped working Children in receiving formal education.
  • By Ratifying International Labour Organization Conventions Nos. 138 and 182 in 2017, the Indian government further demonstrated its commitment to eliminate child labour.
  • India also has a dedicated online portal ( for effective enforcement of child labour laws.
  • However, owing to the Pandemic, the rate of reduction has slowed by two-thirds in recent years.
What are the factors that need to be addressed to eliminate Child labor in India?
  • Increase in ‘out of school’ children: UNESCO estimates that around 38.1 million children are “out of school”.
  • Economic crisis: The economic contraction and lockdowns lead to income reductions for enterprises and workers, many of them in the informal economy.
  • Socioeconomic Challenges: caused by the return of migrant workers has compounded the problem.
  • Issues in the Indian Economy: India experienced slower economic growth and rising unemployment even before the pandemic.
  • Digital divide’: Lack of access to the internet, Digital devices have forced challenges in distant learning and online learning for children. According to the NSS Report titled ‘Household Social Consumption on Education in India only 24% of Indian households had access to an Internet facility.
  • Other reasons: increased economic insecurity, lack of social protection and reduced household income, children from poor households Children are being pushed into child labour.
Way forward
  • Strategic partnerships and collaborations involving government, employers, trade unions, community-based organizations, and child labor families can reduce the menace of child labor in India.
  • The government needs to reinforce its commitment to protect children from unacceptable forms of work. It will ensure achieving Sustainable Development Goal 8.7. (Ending child labour in all its forms by 2025)

UN’s declaration of 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour will ensure that the world countries will take swift actions against Child Labour.

Source: The Hindu

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