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The number of child labourers in India is close to 1.4 million: CRY

A total of 45 per cent child labourers in Bihar, 40 per cent in Rajasthan and Jharkhand, 38 per cent in Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh are illiterate

  • Child Rights and You (CRY) released a film named ‘Contrast’ on 10 June.
  • One in every three child in the age group 7-14 is deprived of education and is working as a child labourer
  • There is 37% increase in child labourers in the category of 5-9 years in the last ten years

Keeping ‘World Day Against Child Labour’ on June 12 in mind, Child Rights and You (CRY) released a film named ‘Contrast’ on Friday. The film, unveiled at Le Sutra Gallery in Khar West, sheds light on the terrible problem of child labour in India and how education can play a role in combating it.

CRY, formerly Child Relief and You, is a national level NGO having 30 years of experience in working with parents as well as communities to bring changes in the lives of more than 20 lakhs underprivileged children.

Based on CRY analysis and Census data 2011, one in every three child in the age group 7-14 is deprived of education and is working as a child labourer.

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“Close to 1.4 million child labourers in India in the age group of 7-14 years cannot write their names. This means one in three child labourers in the said age group is illiterate,” an analysis of Census data by CRY- Child Rights and You revealed.

According to child labour laws in India, a child can work after school hours to support the family business, but on conditions that it doesn’t adversely affect the child’s education or health. CRY further states that child labour laws in India have led to a “shocking two millions of marginal workers in compromising their education.”

Child Labour Image: Wikimedia Commons
Child Labour Image: Wikimedia Commons

The depressing reality of the situation is that children who help in running their family business often drop out from schools due to pressure of earning. Many a times, severe impoverishment drives these children into becoming the sole breadwinners of their homes.

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“It is absolutely disheartening to see a 37% increase in child labourers in the category of 5-9 years in the last ten years. In tender years where they should be learning to hold a pencil, they are compelled to take up the burden of playing economic roles,” said Komal Ganotra, director, Policy and Advocacy of CRY. 

A total of 45 per cent child labourers in Bihar, 40 per cent in Rajasthan and Jharkhand, 38 per cent in Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh are illiterate. Census 2011 data states that “6.5 million children in India in the age group of 5 to 14 work in agriculture and household industries.”

CRY opines that allowing these children to work in family enterprises under the law exposes them to the risks of future illiteracy and unemployment. It further hinders their overall development and mental well-being.

As per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), Article 32, ratified in 1992, the Government of India had articulated that it would “progressively ban all forms of child labour.” Accordingly, children under 14 years of age would be exempt from all kinds of labour.

Despite the above, India has made no proposals to implement the same in its latest child labour laws, CRY states.  Also, the new law “allows children in this age group to work in family occupations after school hours”, which increases their potential risks of a long-term association with the ill effects of child labour.

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-by Maariyah Siddiquee, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @MaariyahSid

 

 

 

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