The issue of child labor in India doesn’t seem to get any better. There still are over a crore children who are currently a part of the work force. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the combined efforts of government and various NGOs like Relief India Trust in order to eradicate child labor have never been so dedicated and serious as they are at present. But in spite of that, the decrease in this evil is only of 2.2% over the last decade. As per a report by CRY (Child Rights and You), at this infinitesimal rate, it will take 100 years to abolish child labor in India.
As per International Labor Organization, child labor is defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.
UNICEF defines it as “ A child is involved in child labor activities if between 5 to 11 years of age, he or she did at least one hour of economic activity or at least 28 hours of domestic work in a week, and in case of children between 12 to 14 years of age, he or she did at least 14 hours of economic activity or at least 42 hours of economic activity and domestic work per week.”
In India, over a crore children are victim of child labor. Relief India Trusts considers it to be an all the more shocking fact that in 2001-2011, child labor in urban areas increased by 53%. Majority of children are employed as domestic helps in towns and cities.
80 per cent of the working children are based in rural areas and 3 out 4 of them work in agriculture sector as cultivators or in household industries
Interestingly, more than half of working children in India are concentrated in five states namely Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. These states account for more than 55 lakh of child workers.
People, government, law enforcement agencies and NGOs, we all need to work together in order to free India of child labor.