Ever since we became independent, we stood to fight against child labour. Even Article 24 of our Constitution prohibits employment of children under 14 years in factories, mines and other hazardous works. But child labour continues unabated in the country. And the capital stands among the top cities in the country in child labor.
Delhi Police have rescued around 100 suspected child labourers after raiding gold polishing units at Karol Bagh area of the capital. The raids were conducted after the police received complaints from several NGO groups that many owners of the polishing units were employing children below 14 years, trafficked from villages in West Bengal.
S.C. Gupta, Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Karol Bagh, promised that the culprits would be brought to book. He further said:
We will lodge cases now and investigate them further. We will send children from other states to their homes. The offenders-parents, employers and contractors will be booked under the Child Labour Abolition Act and other relevant provisions of the law,
A recent legislation even banned employing children under the age of 14 at roadside food stalls or as domestic helps. It provided legal protection to millions of poor children working as labourers in the country. The legislation stated that anyone found violating the law could face up to two years in jail and a fine of 20,000 rupees or both.
The Central Labour Ministry reveals a total of 12 million children less than 14 years of age working in India – the largest such group in the world. With the most populated state in the country, Uttar Pradesh with a figure of 19.27 lakh reporting the largest number of working children. Andhra Pradesh stands next, followed by Rajasthan and Bihar.
Exploitation of minor children portrays a bad image of the country. But who is responsible for such a state of affairs in the country? It is the children’s families, who due to utter poverty cannot afford food and education for their children, so send them to work.
Children are the future of this country and the future of the nation stands in their hands. Immediate action must be taken and appropriate legislation and its implementation carried forward if we want our children to prosper. Child Labour is a sin and it must be nipped in the bud.