The Ministry of Labor, Government of India had appointed a Committee on child labor in 1979 to examined various dimensions of child labor in different occupations. According to the study report, the child labor was reported highest in Andhra Pradesh where it accounted for about 9 percent of the total
labor force. It was 9.2 per cent of the total child population and 3.7 percent of the total population of the state in 1971.
The story is more or less the same in the different part of the country. The child labor was more prevalent in rural areas than in urban areas. According to the report, the participation of children in the labour force in the age group of 10- 14 Years was very high (28.9%) for males as compared to females (20%).
Open Forum, Endeavour through Excellence, had organized a National Advocacy Conference on Child Labor at Lalit Kala Academy in New Delhi on April 28 to discuss the various dimensions of child labor and its cause and impact on the development in India.
The eminent personalities from NGOs, Private sector, Media, Academics and from the Government of India such as legal expert Mr. Bhuwan, Director of Smile foundation Mr KK Varma and Mr. Rahul Dev, Senior Journalist attended the forum.
The theme of the discussion was to discuss about the legal frame-work provided by the constitution of India to restrict the practice of child labor in India. People raised the question on the will-power of the government’s machinery as well as of the common people. Are they honest enough to stop this practice that is ruing the future of tha nation.
Some question raised on the definition of child labor and the demarcation line that is drawn to decide who is child and who is not. However, the Factories Act of 1948 defining that ‘a person below the age of 14 years is to be regarded as a child. Therefore, any physical labour undertaken by a child below 14 years either under compulsion or voluntarily in an organized or unorganized sector qualifies to be called as ‘child labour.’
The emotional part of the conference was the painful story of ‘once victim of child labor’ Rakesh, who had been freed by the NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan’ from a town in Punjab.
At last, Senior Jounalist Rahul Dev accepted that in present time, when media has become so strong, news channels are giving attention to sensational and entertainment content. He asked that how many people would watch a show presented on the child labor. This is very serious matter and people should change their mindset and should fight for the betterment of children who are losing their present and their future is looking dark.
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