Small hands cleaning the dining tables at the restaurants! Little torn skins constructing the walls of big buildings and working in the mine fields! Washing the cups through the fingers instead of pen and book! This is the heartrending condition of thousands of poor children who are forcibly working in the fields for filling their stomach. Their families are depending upon their wages for survival. They don’t work for earning their pocket money like rich adults but for survival. The sprouting seeds who are about to get education under the roof of knowledge toils under the sun and rain on the mud.
The Indian Child Labour Act of 1956 strictly prohibits appointing of children below the age of 14 years of age in any industry. The Act was further amended with the inclusion of the prohibition of appointing of the children in any working places. The Children Education Act further strengthened the prohibition by implementing compulsory education for the children upto 14 years with mid-day meals and other facilities.
The policies issued by the government just remain on paper but have failed to reach the people. The poor in the rural areas continue to remain poor. The parents cannot bear the expenses of at least providing protein food for their children, then is it possible for them to provide education? Moreover, they are illiterate having more children. The inevitable situation forces small children to work. Are these children appointed?
Certainly yes, these child labourers are the income savers for the owners, who can be employed for a minimal wage without protests and demands because of the children’s innocence. They also ask the children to conceal their actual age when the government officials conduct survey. Moreover, most of the officials are accused of indulging in bribery and corruption for hiding the reality.
The government must take drastic steps for preventing crime against children by implementing strict labour laws through further amendments. The punishment for the owners for appointing these child labours must be strengthened by increasing the imprisonment and fines. More than all these aspects, the government must provide the basic amenities for the backward areas and the poor. It’s better to water the bud than growing the evil plant.