Too little has changed with the practice of child labour in our country, despite tall promises made by our leaders. A good proportion of children throughout the world, especially in India, form a part of the working labour force.
Millions of children work in fields and factories, on street corners and in garbage dumps, in private houses and in ‘public’ houses. These children certainly would pose a threat to society, had they not be treated as equal and given opportunities to develop towards the best of their potential despite being poorly educated.
The existence of child labour in India is a complex reality. It is a symptom, however, not the disease.
Poverty is the principal factor for the prevalence of child labour. Large number of dependent children, parental illiteracy, unstable and poor income, and few income- generating assets remain the likely reasons for children ending up working rather than studying.
Ineffective laws and, more often, and the lack of political will implementing them have also contributed to the problem.
The constitutional vision (Article 45) of ‘universal’ and compulsory’ education for all children up to the age of 14 prevails as an illusion.
The constitutional provisions arid legislations alone, however, could not combat the menace, unless supplemented by comprehensive socio-economic programs, educational uplift, with some change in the social psyche and the public attitude. The Government cannot be expected to achieve much on its own; it is essential to involve NGOs and.