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Chanakya National Law University, Patna

Economics Project on
Child Labour and Laws

Submitted To: Mrs. Shivani Mohan

Submitted by SukirtiShikha

(Faculty for economics)

Roll No : 823
Semester : 4TH


The present project has been able to get its final shape with the support and help of people
from various quarters. My sincere thanks go to all the members without whom the study
could not have come to its present state. I am proud to acknowledge gratitude to the
individuals during my study and without whom the study may not be completed. I have taken
this opportunity to thank those who genuinely helped me.

With immense pleasure, I express my deepest sense of gratitude to Mrs. ShivaniMohan ,

Faculty for Economics, Chanakya National Law University for helping me in my project. I
am also thankful to the whole Chanakya National Law University family that provided me all
the material I required for the project. Not to forget thanking to my parents without the cooperation of which completion of this project would not had been possible.
I have made every effort to acknowledge credits, but I apologies in advance for any omission
that may have inadvertently taken place.
Last but not least I would like to thank Almighty whose blessing helped me to complete the



Child labour in India-causes and consequences
Working avenues of child labourin India
Government policies and programmes against child labour
Ending child labour


Child is very important for the development of the society at large.The development of the Nation is
exclusively based on the status of the Child. It is also truethat this is one of the vulnerable groups in the society.
We can also further add that Childrenare the Assets of the Nation. Children plays very significant role in the
Nation building. Allthese make obligatory on everyone to protect and provide various safeguards to the
children.In reality there are various social evils with children; one of them is Child Labour.
Child labour refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and
harmful to children; and interferes with their schooling:
- by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school;
- by obliging them to leave school prematurely; or
- by requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy
The Child Labour system is in existence in developing and underdeveloped counties.As per the information
available, India is one of the Countries where in large number of children below the age of 14 years working in
various organizations. If there is no properdistribution of work among the member of the society then children
automatically forced todo work for their survival. Unemployment of adult members of the particular family
resultsinto Child Labour
Child labour in some form or the other has always existed in societies all over the world.
Children used to accompany their parents while working in the fields. Moreover they were
also expected to help with household chores as well as taking care of the sick and elderly. As
most of the work was being done under the watchful eyes of the parents, instances of
exploitation were rare. Even today work of this sort is not considered exploitative.
. During the industrial revolution, it was very common to find children working in factories.
In 1788, more than 60% of workers in textile mills of England and Scotland were children.
Since industrialisation, children have been seen working in factories, mines, some having
their own small business like selling food, flowers, polishing shoes, serving as waiters in
restaurants and as domestic servants as well. The most controversial and worst forms of child
labour and exploitation included military use of children, child trafficking, organised begging
and child prostitution etc. So these are the various forms of child labour that are being present
in todays societies over the world.2

1. http://www.ilo.org/public/english/region/eurpro/moscow/areas/ipec/def.htm
2. http://www.lawyersclubindia.com/articles/Origin-and-Causes-of-Child-Labour-andits-Possible-Solutions-3194.asp#.U09DfvmSyRQ

In India child labour has always existed in the agricultural sector. Children and their parents
used to work together in the farms. Moreover the task of taking the cattle to graze was always
allotted to children. Large scale exploitation of children in India began with the arrival of the
British. Just as the case was in Great Britain, the new industrialists started hiring children
who were forced to work in inhuman conditions. Laws against child labour were passed
under Employment of Children Act of 1938. These attempts at legislation failed as they failed
to address the root cause of child labour in India: poverty. Until and unless the populace was
brought out of poverty, it was impossible to take the children out of the labour force.
The size of the Indian population between the ages of 15 to 60, at around 700 million, is the
second largest amongst all countries in the world (in 2011)According to the 2001 Census
the last time the Indian Government officially calculated the employment of children in the
labour market there were around 12 million child labourers. According to child-rights
organisations working in this sector and the calculations offered by other independent NGOs,
this is a conservative estimate with the actual figures being around 5-6 times higher due to the
definitional limitations.3
The magnitude of child labour in India has been witnessing enormous decline in the last two
decades, both in terms of magnitude and workforce participation rates.
Evidence drawn from the National Sample Survey data suggest that Indias child workforce
during 2004-05 was estimated at little over nine million (9.07 million) as against twenty-one
and half million (21.55 million) in 1983. During this period, the number of child employment
has declined sharply by 12.48 million. There is considerable fall in child workforce is
observed among boys than girls. The corresponding fall in boys and girls workforce during
1983 to 2004- 05 is observed to have decreased from 12.06 to 4.76 million, and 9.49 to 4.31
million, respectively. In effect, the gender difference that existed between boys and girls
(adverse against boys) during the early 1980s has almost dissipated in recent years, the
difference being slowed down from 2.57 million to roughly 0.45 million. However, in
absolute numbers, the problem is large. As per the Census 2001, there are 1.26 crores
economically active children in the age-group of 5-14 years. It was 1.13 crores in the 1991
As per NSSO survey 2009-10, the working children are estimated at 49.84 lakh which shows
a declining trend. As per the Global Report on Child Labour published by International
Labour Organization last year, the activity rate of children in the age group of 5-14 years is
5.1 per cent in Latin America and Caribbean Region, which is the lowest in the world. In the
Asia-Pacific Region, it is 18.8 per cent. In comparison to that, the activity rate of children in
India, as per 2001 census is 5 per cent4

3 http://indialabourstudies.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/child-labour-india-ilo-and-the-21st-century/
4.India, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Annual Report 2012-13, p. 91

Child labour in India-causes and CONSEQUESNCES

Causes of Child Labour

India accounts for the second highest number where child labour of the world is concerned.
Africa accounts for the highest number of children employed and exploited.
Over population, poverty, parental illiteracy, lack of proper education, urbanisation,
availability of cheap child labour are some common causes of wide-spread child labour.
Parental ignorance regarding the bad effects of child labour, the ineffectiveness of child
labour laws in terms of implementation, non-availability and non-accessibility to schools are
some of the other factors which encourages the phenomenon of child labour. It is also very
difficult to immature minds and undeveloped bodies to understand and organise themselves
against exploitation in the absence of adult guidance.
Moreover, illiterate and ignorant parents do not understand the need for wholesome physical,
cognitive and emotional development of their child. They are themselves uneducated and
unexposed, so they do not understand the importance of education for their children.
The industrial revolution has also had a negative effect by giving rise to circumstances which
encourages child labour. Sometimes multi-nationals prefer to employ child labourers in
developing countries especially in garment industries only because they can be recruited for
less pay and more work can be extracted from them and there is no problem of union with
them. This attitude also makes it difficult for adults to find job in factories, forcing them to
drive their little ones to work in factories.
Orphanage is an another reason of child labour. Children born out of wed-lock, children with
no parents and relatives, often do not find anyone to support which forces them to work for
their own survival.
Moreover, willingness to exploit children is the most responsible cause for child labour. This
is the root of the problem. Even if a family is very poor, the incidence of child labour will be
very low unless there are people willing to exploit these children.5


Consequences of child labour

The presence of a large number of child labourers is regarded as a serious issue in terms of
economic welfare. Children who work fail to get necessary education. They do not get the
opportunity to develop physically, intellectually, emotionally and psychologically.6 Children
in hazardous working conditions are in worse condition.7 Children who work, instead of
going to school, remain illiterate which limits their ability to contribute to their own wellbeing as well as to community they live in. Child labour has long term adverse effects for
To keep an economy prospering, a vital criteria is to have an educated workforce equipped
with relevant skills for the needs of the industries. The young labourers today, will be part of
Indias human capital tomorrow. Child labour undoubtedly results in a trade-off with human
capital accumulation.8
Child labour in India are employed with the majority (70%) in agriculture9some in lowskilled labour-intensive sectors such as sari weaving or as domestic helpers, which require
neither formal education nor training, but some in heavy industry such as coal mining.10
According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), there are tremendous economic
benefits for developing nations by sending children to school instead of work.11 Without
education, children do not gain the necessary skills such as English literacy and technical
aptitude that will increase their productivity to enable them to secure higher-skilled jobs in
future with higher wages that will lift them out of poverty.

6. "Magnitude of Child Labour in India"

7.Dhariwal, Navdip (13 June 2006). "Child Labour - Indias Cheap Commodity". BBC News.
8. "Is Child Labor Inefcient?". Harvard. Retrieved 12 September 2011.

9."Civil society urges PM to ban child labour". The Times of India. 22 June 2010. Retrieved 20 September
10. Gardiner Harris (25 February 2013). "Children Toil in Indias Mines, Despite Legal Ban". The New York
Times.Retrieved 26 February 2013. "We have very good laws in this country", said VandhanaKandhari, a
child protection specialist at Unicef. "Its our implementation thats the problem."

Child labour and economy

Source : http://www.slideshare.net/BhaktiVarma/child-labour-and-its-impact-on-economic-growth-9225274

Child labour is one of the major factors that causes the inter-generational transmission of
poverty. One of the main reasons for the failure of the poverty-elimination approach is that
child labour and poverty are often inextricably inter-linked. While poverty could be the initial
cause forcing a child to earn for their family, it is the very same children that then go on to
become the next generation of the poor due to their inability to upgrade their knowledge and
skills. This leads to a vicious cycle of poverty which becomes extremely difficult to break.
For example, a family that is below the poverty line may be forced to send its children out to
work before they complete their education to earn a supplemental income. Since the child
can no longer complete their education, they get forced to do the low-paid unskilled work
which causes them to remain poor throughout the remainder of their working life, like their
parents would have. There is a strong negative effect of child labour on school attendance
rates and a significant correlation is found between the levels of economic activity of children
aged 7-14 years and youth literacy rates in the 15-24 age bracket11 Child labour therefore
significantly affects the quality of the workforce.

11. (Allais and Hagemann, 2008).

The economic discourse has overwhelmingly been in the consensus that poverty is the
primary reason for the supply of child labour12. The data in a recent report however,
contradicts this position. Education, as a variable, shows a stronger effect on the decrease in
child labour since a significant number of the richer households are also seen sending their
children to work. The report finds that around 20% of working children belong to families in
the richest and second richest quintiles of the population13But more critically, it found that
over 95% of the child labourers come from families where the head of the household has
managed less than 10 years of education. In fact, 75% of all child labourers in India are from
families where the head of the household is either illiterate or has only managed to complete
primary education14

Most studies, however, search for the relationship between economic growth or the effect of
trade on child labour participation rates completely missing the link and the beneficial
effects of education. It is a widely held belief that with economic growth would come an
increase in wages and therefore a decline in child labour. The prominent focus, it would
appear, on economics and trade linkages has obfuscated other approaches which could be
faster and more effective. Another little known area is the nature of demand for child labour
which should logically grow along with increases in adult wages. Some studies have shown
that economic growth increases the demand for child labour. Without government
intervention, a labour market becomes receptive to child labor15.

12. (Van and Basu,1998; Grootaert and Kanbur, 1995; UNICEF, 1986).
13. (VVGNLI, 2010).
14. (ibid 21).
15. Swaminathan, 1998

Working avenues of child labour in India

Working avenues :

1. The main concern for India is its children working in hazardous industries such as in
the production of glass , brass, locks, matches, fireworks, estate , beedi making etc.
besides children are also employed in agricultural fields , rag-picking , selling eatables
and as domestic servants. Child labourers existing in afore states sectors work under
humiliating conditions without having any freedom to express the torture they
undergo and in fact that they are deprived of their healthy childhood.
2. 2. At the national level most of the child labour involved in an unorganized sectors
where these children are losing their childhood. The Match & Fire Works Industry
Sivakasi (Tamil Nadu), The Carpet Industry in Bhiwadi (Maharashtra), Lock Industry
in Aligarh, Gem Polishing in Jaipur (Rajasthan), Pottery in Khurja and Glass
Factories in Firozabad (Uttar Pradesh), Shellac Industry in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh
and the Beedi Manufacturers, brick kilns, plantation, tea shops and middle class
houses all over the country.
3. National Labour Institute estimated that concentration of child labour is in some
states, some places and some indus-tries. According to Institution, 60 thousand in
glass industry of Firozabad, 50 thousand in matches and crackers industry of Tamil
Nadu, 22 thousand in mines of Meghalaya, 15 thou-sand in rock mines of Kerala, 20
thousand in state firms of Andhra and Madhya Pradesh, 40 thousand in leather
industry of Agra and Kanpur, 1.5 thousand in carpet industry of Jammu and Kashmir
and 10 thousand child labour are engaged in gems and jewellery industries of
Rajasthan and Haryana.
4. In balloon making factories in Maharashtra children working are exposed to
dangerous chemicals which requires in mixing of hot rubber with colour in turn
producing danger011s gases. Exposingg may damage their ethir e respiratory organs
to regular toxic fumes lungs, wind pipes permanently causing respiratory disorder and
lung diseases which are life shortening.16

16. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=996574

Government policies and programmes against child labour

The Child has been the subject of special laws and legal provisions. Because of its tender
years, weak physique, and inadequately developed mind and understanding, every child
needs protection against moral and physical harm and exploitation by others. In the formative
years of its life, the child needs special care service to realize its full potential for growth and
development. There are about 300 Central and State Statutes concerning children. These have
been enacted with an intention to protect and help children and achieve the goal of child
labour welfare enshrined in our National charter.17
Further these laws are applicable to children in various spheres of life, which are regulatory,
protective and correctional in nature. Laws are seeking to protect and promote the rights of
child. Under the law, children are entitled to special care, assistance and essential needs and
they should be given the highest priority in the allocation of resources. In this chapter the
main focus is on the analysis of postindependence laws.
Constitutional Provisions
The Constitution of India (26 January 1950), through various articles enshrined in the
Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy, lays down that:

No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged
in any other hazardous employment (Article 24);
The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age six to 14 years.
(Article 21 (A));
The State shall direct its policy towards securing that the health and strength of workers, men and
women and the tender age of children are not abused and that they are not forced by economic
necessity to enter vocations unsuited to their age and strength (Article 39-e);
Children shall be given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in
conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth shall be protected against moral
and material abandonment (Article 39-f);
The State shall endeavour to provide within a period of 10 years from the commencement of the
Constitution for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of 14
years (Article 45).18

17.(Encyclopedia of Social Work in India, (1987), Vol.I. p.69)

18. http://www.indianchild.com/childlaws/child-labor-laws-in-india.htm

The Children (Pledging of Labour) Act, 1933

Historical Background
The Royal Commission on Labour was established in 1929 to inquire into various matters
relating to labour in this country. The Report of the Commission was finalized in 1931.
Previously, the Act extended to whole of India except Jammu and Kashmir but after 1st
September 1971, it has also been extended to Jammu and Kashmir.19
The Act declares that an agreement, oral or written, express or implied to pledge the labour of
child below 15 years of age by the childs parents, guardians as void and makes the
contracting parties, liable for penalties.20This Act was passed with an intention to protect
child from exploitation in various hazardous occupations but it remained a dead letter. No
judicial efforts were made to protect the child from exploitation.
In India there are many Laws enacted to protect the rights of
children which are as follows:
Child labour is a matter on which both the Union Government and state governments can
legislate. The major national legislative developments include the following:

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986: The Act prohibits the employment
of children below the age of 14 years in 16 occupations and 65 processes that are hazardous to
the children's lives and health. These occupations and processes are listed in the Schedule to the
Act. In October 2006, the Government has included children working in the domestic sector as
well as roadside eateries and motels under the prohibited list of hazardous occupations. More
recently, in September 2008 diving as well as process involving excessive heat (e.g. working near
a furnace) and cold; mechanical fishing; food processing; beverage industry; timber handling and
loading; mechanical lumbering; warehousing; and processes involving exposure to free silica
such as slate, pencil industry, stone grinding, slate stone mining, stone quarries as well as the
agate industry were added to the list of prohibited occupations and processes;
The Factories Act, 1948: The Act prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14
years. An adolescent aged between 15 and 18 years can be employed in a factory only if he
obtains a certificate of fitness from an authorized medical doctor. The Act also prescribes four
and a half hours of work per day for children aged between 14 and 18 years and prohibits their
working during night hours.
The Mines Act, 1952: The Act prohibits the employment of children below 18 years of age in a
mine. Further, it states that apprentices above 16 may be allowed to work under proper
supervision in a mine.

19. The Children (Pledging of Labour) Act, 1933, Sec. 1(2).

20 Ibid, Sec.4 and 5 the penalty for breach of law is fine uptoRs. 50/- for parents/ guardians and a fine upto Rs.200/- for a
employer Sec. 2.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act, 2000: This Act was last
amended in 2002 in conformity with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child covers
young persons below 18 years of age. Section 26 of this Act deals with the Exploitation of a
Juvenile or Child Employee, and provides in relevant part, that whoever procures a juvenile
or the child for the purpose of any hazardous employment and keeps him in bondage and
withholds his earnings or uses such earning for his own purposes shall be punishable with
imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable for fine
The Minimum Wages Act, 1948: Prescribes minimum wages for all employees i n all
establishments or to those working at home in certain sectors specified in the schedule of the
Act. Central and State Governments can revise minimum wages specified in the schedule.
Some consider this Act as an effective instrument to combat child labour in that it is being
used in some States (such as Andhra Pradesh) as the basis on which to prosecute employers
who are employing children and paying them lower wages.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009: Provides for free and
compulsory education to all children aged 6 to 14 years. This legislation also envisages that 25
per cent of seats in every private school should be allocated for children from disadvantaged
groups including diffirently abled children.( * )

An important judicial intervention in the action against child labour in India was the M.C.
Mehta case (1996) in which The Supreme Court, directed the Union and state governments to
identify all children working in hazardous processes and occupations, to withdraw them from
work, and to provide them with quality education. The Court also directed that a Child
Labour Rehabilitation-cum-Welfare Fund be set up using contributions from employers who
contravene the Child Labour Act. Additionaly, in 1993, the Supreme Court in Unnikrishnan
v. State of Andhra Pradesh ruled that each child has the right to free education until he or she
completes the age of 14 years. Artcle 21-A which was incorporated into the Constitution
reflects this standard. In 2005, the M.V. Foundation, an NGO working on child rights brought
a public interest litigation petition which argues that child labour up to the age of compulsory
education is unconstitutional and is a negation of rights under Article 21-A which provides
for compulsory education up to the age of 14. This case is still pending before the Supreme
Court. Notably however, under this case the Court has asked the Government to file a status
report on the implementation of SarvaShikshaAbhiyan, a government programme providing
free and compulsory eduction to all children.21

21. http://www.ilo.org/legacy/english/regions/asro/newdelhi/ipec/responses/india/national.htm

India is a signatory to the:

ILO Forced Labour Convention (No. 29);

ILO Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (No. 105);
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Government has launched various schemes and programmes for the welfare of Children.
Integrated Child Development Services: Provides integrated services comprising
supplementary nutrition, immunization, health check-up, referral services, pre-school nonformal education and nutrition. 100 percent financial assistance from Central Government
and implemented through State Governments.
Others welfare programme for children are
Kishori Shakti Yojna (KSY)
The Rajeev Ghandhi National Creche Scheme
SarvaShikshaAbhiyan (SSA)
Despite of many children welfare programme, child labour in India is still at rampant because
welfare and the economic development of their parent are more necessary who sends them
for work.22

22. http://www.real-factsabout-india.com/laws-against-child-labour.

Ending Child Labor

Elimination of poverty, free and compulsory education, proper and strict implementation of
the labour laws, abolishment of child trafficking can go a long way in solving the problem of
child labour.
The World Band, International Monetary Fund can help in eradicating poverty by providing
loan to the developing countries. Various poverty elimination programmes have been
introduced by our Government as well for the cause.
After the 86th Amendment of the Constitution in the year 2002, the provision for free and
compulsory education between the age group of 6 to 14 years has been included as
fundamental right under Article 21A. Children irrespective of their race, caste, sex, economic
condition, religion, place of birth, and parents to whom they born of need to how to read and
write. They need social and professional skills that only a school and nurturing environment
can provide.
The most essential part in this regard is the effective implementation of the policies and strict
enforcement of the labour laws. The Government must take strict measures against those
employing child labourers in hazardous works and other industries.
The NGOs also have a big role to play in this regard. Various NGOs are working for the
cause of child labour. MVF in Andhra Pradesh is a striking example. They have been
working for the welfare of children in various respects.
Compulsory education can help eradicating the problem of child labour up to a large extent.
Statistics also show that education has helped in reducing child labour in Western Countries
up to a large extent.
Most importantly the incidence of child labour would diminish considerably even in the force
of poverty, if there are no parties willing to exploit them. Strict implementation of child
labour laws and practical and healthy authorities to replace this evil can a go long way to
solve this problem of child labour. Along with this, participation of the common educated
citizens in the process of eliminating child labour can help out a lot. As common people also,
we can help the poor uneducated children in getting at least some idea

The situation of child laborers in India is desperate. Its prevalence is evident in the child
work participation rate, which is more than that of other developing countries. It is a
serious and extensive problem, with many children under the age of fourteen working in
carpet making factories, glass blowing units and making fireworks with bare little hands.

Government has accordingly been taking proactive steps to tackle this problem through strict
enforcement of legislative provisions along with simultaneous rehabilitative measures. State
Governments, which are the appropriate implementing authorities, have been conducting
regular inspections and raids to detect cases of violations. Since poverty is the root cause of
this problem, and enforcement alone cannot help solve it, Government has been laying a lot
of emphasis on the rehabilitation of these children and on improving the economic conditions
of their families
The present scheme for rehabilitation and provision of bridge education to the rescued child
labourers is miniscule. This flagship programme, NCLP covers merely six lakh children in 266
districts. The government is currently revising and restructuring this scheme. In the light of the
decision to bring in the amendments, the entire government and not just the Ministry of Labour
and Employment must demonstrate superior leadership by using the time available between now
and the enactment of the new law. A scaled-up and well-resourced national scheme should be
devised to cater to at least 50 lakh child labourers up to the age of 14, going by the governments
own statistics. The biggest challenge would be to rehabilitate 15-20 lakh children in the age-group
14 to 18 who are employed in hazardous work. They cannot be absorbed in the conventional
schooling system or any existing special educational schemes. Hence a completely new










entrepreneurship must be taken up on priority.

In addition, each individual should also take responsibility of reporting about anyone employing
a child below the age of fourteen years. However, considering the magnitude and extent of the
problem, concerted efforts from all sections of the society is needed to make a dent. Measures
need to be taken not only to stop this crime against children, but also to slowly, steadily and
surely provide every child a well-deserved healthy and normal childhood.


M.S. Bhattacharya,ChristianGonner,Esther M. K. Cheung,A Saga Of Agony And Shame:
Child Labour And Child Abuse In India And The Saarc Countries
Santosh Kumar Tripathy, Child Labour in India
T.N. Kitchulu, Exploited Child