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Child labour status in contemporary India

          If the employment of children in any type of services despoils their childhood, trespass their right to go to the school and if that harm their social, physical and moral conditions, then it come under the term child labour. Child labour has clear geographical model. In develop countries child labour rate is 7% where in under developed countries it is around 30%. Actually there are some negative interrelation between economic development and child labour scenario of a country.                                                                                                According to UNICEF, worldwide there are almost 218 million children of the child group between 5 to 17 years are working as child labour(except domestic child labour). These include the use of children by military work like as informers, child prostitute, bar singer etc as well as agricultural worker.
           In India there are almost 1.2 crore 1.85 lakh children who work as child labour. Among them 1.2 crore child worker work as domestic labour and 70,000 work in restaurant and dhaba. Most of the child labours are employed in the top 10 cities in India. Mostly these children become the victims of physical violence, mental and physical trauma, and sexual violence. Despite of constitutional provision and Child Labour Protection Act(1986), India have 30% child labour of total workforce. Though the finger tip is always to those people who employ the child workers but the government have no plan to rehabilitate those rescued children. Where banning on child labour may look like a majestic step but in the other hand it also hampers the life of many children. Mostly in the case of girl child, various crimes can be performed like child marriage, girl foetus killing etc.
                                         Though India have taken several developmental method to prevent child labour, the number of child labours are increasing day by day. The exact number of child labour in India cannot be estimated as many children work as helping hand of their parents which are not reported during census. It is studied that girl children are mostly used as domestic worker which lead them to be the victim of physical, mental and sexual abuse. Though domestic jobs are relatively light, they have to work almost twenty four hours a day with short intervals. These children are mainly engaged in unorganised sector. Varandani allotted that almost 55million children of India are engaged in bonded labourers in agriculture, mining, brick-kilns, construction work, fishing activities, carpet weaving, fireworks, matches, glass moulding, bidi-making (cigarettes), gem-cutting and polishing work, electroplating, dyeing, washing and domestic work. About 20 percent of these bonded child laborers were sold to cover some small debts obtained by their parents, usually for some social celebration like a wedding in the family. (Varandani,G. p .42.).
                                           As children have tripping fingers and harsh eyesight so they are engaged in most of the industry for accuracy. They can sit in a posture for a long time. They also have less bargaining power so more work can be got for them at a low wedge. (Kanbargi, 1998).
                      A study on street children in the city of Chennai shows that there are thousand of children who live and work on the street. Among them almost 22% work as coolie, 10.4% work in small resturents and dhabas, 9.6% engaged in rag picking, 7.1% sell flowers, even 0.3% of them engaged in prostitution services. After the services of 10-12 hours, the average monthly wedge of them is less than 100 rupees which is barely enough for their survival. (Joe Arimpoor,1992).
                           A recent LLO report shows that almost 80% of India’s child labour and 86% of India’s bonded labour engaged in agricultural sector. Children, who are engaged as daily wedge labour, make a another large group. In these group exploitations can be seen at a large scale. Children mostly work here as a bonded labour without wedge or with minimum wedge. There are almost 1million bonded labour in India(1992 ILO). Though in  the large enterprises and in mines child labours are rarely used for complexity of procedure andlarge scal use of production  but in the small industries there are large number of child labour are engaged.
                            The problem of child labour can be suspended by the active participation of government, NGOs and society. Society participation is most impoetent. As the the most important reason behind the child labour is poverty so it should be eradicated at first. Society have to be sensitive and aware about such issues. 
Review of Literature:
Almost 20 percent of the India’s bonded labours are sold by their parents. They are sold usually for various social occasion like weeding. (Varandani,G. p .42.)
Children have tripping fingers and sharp eyesight and they can also sit in same posture for long time so that they are easily accountable for several industry. (Kanbargi,
Large family size is a important reason for the incident of child labour. (VVGNLI, 1999)
      The analyse is done mainly with the basis of secondary data.

                               Percentage of Children in Total Population
      Note: 1991Population Census figures excluded J & K State and for comparative purposes we have excluded figures for J & K for 2011 Source: Population Census 1991 and 2011 and Population Projection, Based on 2011 Census of India, (2011) including J & K

 According to 2011 census report children of 0-14 age group are the 35.3% of total population that is almost 360million. Children of 5-14 age group are about 24.6% of the population that consists of 251 million of the population. Though the absolute number of children is increasing between 1991 to 2011 but the total population is decreased. The percentage of children decrease to 32.1% during 2011. The main reason behind the decreasing of children population is the drastic decreasing in Total Fertility Rate(TFR). Thus the number of children varies from state to state depending on the TFR. The proportion of the children in the population has a great role in the context of child labour. Large family size is also a major issue regarding child labour. Indian states witnesses that decline in Total fertility Rate is the main cause behind the  decreasing of child labour intensity. In north eastern states where Total Fertility Rate decline at a slow rate, the incidence of child labour is increasing between 1991 to 2011. Uttar Paradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh etc have the highest fertility rate and highest number of child labour. Among the states of India Kerala has the lowest fertility rate so the literacy rate is high and the incidence of child labour is negligible.
Magnitude of Child labour in India:
                    As per census 2011 there are 12.36 million child workers in India where in 1991 it was 11.3 million. But the percentage of child worker is decreasing to 5% which was 5.1% in 2001.
Age group wise Work Participations Rate (WPR):
Changes in Work Participation (Main and Marginal) Rate of Children in different age groups.

Latest available estimates on WPR children are from the 66st Round of NSSO (2010-11).

The trend becomes different when it comes to the study of Work Participation Rate (WPR) of different age groups. The Work Participation Rate of age group of 5 to 9 is increasing to 1.4% from 1% between 2001 to 2011. But the numbers of child labour of the age group of 10-14 were decreasing from 10.4 to 8.7 during 2001 to 2011. In spite of the decreasing of the population of 10 to 14 age group, there are a sturdy number of child labour of India which belong to this age group. According to the 66st round of NSSO which is conducted in the year of 2010-2011 the work participation rate of 5 to 9 age group is negligible but the work participation rate of 10 to 14 age group is still substantial, though there are declining. This NSSO data is based on a sample survey. This study shows the current economic condition of the country  and also shows the employment status. It is noticed that the declining of the child labour is proportionate to the decaling of employment


                        According to the census data the magnitude of child labour is varied from state to state.  There is a immense decline in the northern and southern states and union territories of India during 2001 to 2011. But there is rapid increasing of child labour in the eastern and north eastern states. There is an increase of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. If we add the rived part of these the states with them, then the increasing magnitude will be higher. The best thing is that states like Andhra Pradesh where the number of child labour were high, there also decreasing in the number of child labour are noticed. There is a reduction of child labour number and dramatic increases of in the enrolment in school are noticed. However, according to the 2011 census Andhra Pradesh was in the second position in terms of magnitude.
                            Uttar Pradesh stands 1st when it comes to the percentage share of child labour workforce. It provides 15 percent of total work force. Andhra Pradesh stands 2nd with 10.8 percent of share followed by Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar with 10 percent, 8.8 percent and 8 percent respectively. The share of U.P increased to 15.2 percent in 2011 from 13 percent in1991.  During 2011, 53 percent of India’s total child labourare supplied from five states namely Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. Another 20 percent supply of chaild labour comes from three states namely Karnataka, Maharashtra and West Bengal. In the North eastern states there are a rapid increasing in the magnitude where in Himachal Pradesh there are a rapid decreasing in child labour magnitude and increasing in the number of school goers.1
Changes in the Magnitude of Child Labour and WPR between 2001 and 2011      (Children in the age group of 5-14):


(Source: Compiled from census of India 2001 and 2011)

Work Participation Rate of Children (5-14):
                  As per 2011 census, in major states Gujarat have highest Work participation Ratio with 8.25 where Sikkim have the highest Work Participation Ratio with12.04. NSSO data provides mid-decade condition of various things of the country’s economy as it is conducted twice in a decade. In the 66st round NSSO show the decline of child labour trend. Though the decreasing magnitude is sounds very good but it bases on the very restrictive decision.
NSSO Estimate of Child Labour in Major Indian States, 2010-11 (in thousands):

Source: Derived from Unit Level Records of NSSO, 2010-11

NSSO Data on Work Participation Rates of Children:
                  NSSO data also shows the declining of Work Participation rate like census. Though Work Participation Rate of 5 to 9 age group is insignificant, but it is higher in 10-14 age groups. The middle school level, the rate of school drop outs is higher which shows the higher Work Participation Rate of the 10 to 14 age group children. The Work Participation Rate is higher in rural areas and among girl children.2

               NSSO Data on Work Participation Rates of Children:

Source: Derived from Respective Unit Level Records of NSSO
NSSO data of 2010-2011 shows that the WPR for all states in India is less than one percent. But the Work Participatory Rate for age group of 10 to 14 is varies from less than one percent (in Kerala) to 12.38 percent (in Andhra Pradesh). In the states of Andhra Pradesh., Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, UP and West Bengal the Work Participatory Rate for the age group of 10 to 14 is higher than 6.38 percent which is the national average.

Child Workforce Participation Rates in Major Indian States, 2010-11 (in percent):

Source: Derived from Unit Level Records of NSSO, 2010-11

Socio-Economic Background of Child Labour in India:
                   Almost 90 percent of India’s child labours are condensed in various farm and non-farm sectors of the rural areas. The census and NSSO data also clarify this important characteristic of child labour. This also shows the confined jurisdiction of law and order in the urban areas. Thus the problems of child labour is become a rural problem. According to the 2010- 2011data 9.07 million child labours are in rural area among 12.16 million. The following sections show what is missing in the official data.
District level Census Data Analysis on Magnitude of Child Labour:
                            District level data on the magnitude of child labour is only available in census data. The source is SSA (district level).  It conducts a survey on drop out school children though many civil society organisations challenged that. So question arise on the reliability of the data. In the absence of any other source of data, census data become the only source. In the case of state level data the magnitude is higher in some states and in lower in some states. But within the states the magnitude is varied. If we look over the district level data then it shows that the top twelve districts is in Andhra Pradesh. The district which ranks 1st ranks is with Alwar 140318 child labour. There are 12 districts with 50,000 to 1,00,000 child labour. Distribution of district regarding the number of child labour is mentioned below in the table.

Distribution of Number of Districts by Range of Magnitude of Child Labour in India:

Source : Derived from Respective Unit Level Records of NSSO

Among the top11districts of India Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal consists of three district each, Rajasthan have 2 districts and Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka have one district each. Most of these district have NCLP programme since 9th five year plan.

Magnitude of Child Labour (Main and Marginal) in India 2011 Top 11 districts having more than 75,000 Child Labourers:
Source: Compiled from 2011 Census data

Growth of Child Labour across Districts and States in India:
               In all over India, magnitude of child labour increased in all the district of Jharkhand and Himachal Pradesh between 1991 and 2011. The trend of child labour increased in the ninety percent district of West Bengal, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar and Rajasthan. In the case of Andhra Pradesh the increase is shown in 17 percent district. Where in the case of Kerala, the increase of magnitude is shown in 50 percent districts. 

Growth of Child labour across Districts in India:





Missing Child Labour in the official data:
             Though the official data regarding child labour indicate the declining in trend, it do not bring the children to school automatically. 87 million children were out of school outside the child labours in 2011. According to NSSO’s 66st round, the numbers of out of school children decreased to43 million.  This happens probably for the efforts of SSA and other initiatives to stop the child labours. In a survey,  NSSO noticed that one fifth of the girl children are not in school. That directly indicates the gender gapes. NSSO also provides input to some child activities. Each category is different from each other. There are no children in more than one category though they can perform in several tasks. “Others” is the most important category of children. It includes 43 million children.
Literacy levels of Head of Child Labour Households:
               Mostly Illiterate and also semi-illiterate parents, who cannot earn so much to survive and cannot take the expenditure of their children, make their children to earn for their family. As per the NSSO data, 50 percent to the total child labour belongs to the illiterate families. One fourth of the child labour belongs to the family whose head is educated up to primary or secondary education.

Household’s Head Education and child Labour in India (1993-94 to 2010-11):
Source: Derived from Respective Unit Level Records of NSSO
A clear change is observed during last one decades that concentration of child labour is highly dependent on the economic condition. While child labours are concentrated in the economically poor households during 1991. But during 2011 the concentration of child labour is spread to the illiterate and semi illiterate (primary and secondary education) families. This also shows the decline of employment growth of the country.

Child Labour by Expenditure Quintiles in India, 1993-94 to 2010-11:

Source: Derived from Respective Unit Level Records of NSSO

             In India it is a common site to see children are working in various places against wedge or without wedge. In spite of having various legislation to prevent the employment of child labour, children are employed in a regular basis in a significant number. As per the 2010- 2011data of NSSO, almost all the workforce of child labour are concentrated in agriculture and allied activities. The number of child labours in these sectors are almost two third of total employment. Manufacturing industries consists of 16.55 percent; trades, hotels, dhabas etc consists of 845 percent of total employment. Most of the children work mainly in the unorganised sectors where they get low wedge with long working hours.

Sectoral Distribution of India’s Child Labour (2010-11):

Source: Estimated from Unit Level Records of NSSO, 2010-11

       Millions of children are subject to be the victim of violence, mental and sexual abuse etc. So a protective environment for children should make for the children. For this purpose various legislations and policies are implemented.
Policy Options:
      For Pre- Independent Period:
                     In this period several acts are implemented. Those are-
·        The Indian Factory Act, 1881
·        The Children, 1933
·        Employment of Children Act,1938
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC):
·        Article 19- for protection of children from all physical and mental injury.
·        Article 27- To make the standard of living good.
·        Article 28 & 29- The right to education
·        Article 31- Right to play
International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC)
·        Raise the capability of International Labour organization.
·        Awareness creation and social mobilization to eliminate childlabour.
Post-Independence Period:
Article 14, Article 15, Article 21, Article 21 A, Article 23, Article 24, Article 243G etc.
       This survey is based on the secondary data which is collected from the various websites. The reliability of the survey depends upon the reliability of the data. The sources of the data are given. The major finding is that illiteracy and poverty are the two major causes behind the trend of child labour. Another reason behind the increasing magnitude of child labour is big size of family. But in some states of  India the magnitude is declining. 


BY - Jayabrata Bardhan


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