Child labour is the practice of engaging children in economic activity, on part-time or full-time basis. Child labour actually makes poverty worse and also deprives children of education, resulting in poverty passing down from generation to generation. The problem of child labour in Rajasthan is no different from the country with Rajasthan accounting for nearly 10% of the total child labour in the country (Census 2011).
Who is a Child ?
- The National Policy for Children, 2013 and the Rajasthan State Child Policy, 2008 define a child as a person below the age of 18 years.
- According to Article 2 of the ILO Convention No.182, the term ‘child’ shall apply to all persons under the age of 18.
What is Child Labour ?
‘Child labour’ refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school; obliges them to leave school prematurely; or requires them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.
In its most extreme forms, child labour involves children being enslaved, separated from their families, exposed to serious hazards and illnesses, and/or left to fend for themselves on the streets of large cities, oft en at a very early age.
The Problem of Child Labour in Rajasthan
Child labour in Jalor (limestone and stone quarry), Jaipur (gem polishing), Bikaner (carpetweaving), Ajmer (tourism), Dhaulpur (marble), Banswara (cane and bamboo works, and stone quarry), and Bhilwara (garment), is mainly due to high industrial activities and the resultant demand for cheap labour.
The incidence of child labour in Banswara, Chittor, Dungarpur, and Udaipur is due to the concentration of impoverished tribal population languishing under poverty conditions.
Along with their family members, children are engaged in farm and farm-based activities such as sowing, weeding, harvesting, grazing, and tending livestock and poultry. Children in Rajasthan are also engaged in trade and commerce, transportation, mining and construction, and as domestics in hotels and dhabas and in private houses.
The majority of child workers in domestic work, restaurants, dhabas and shops are migrants. There are tribal children who work and live in bondage in the employers’ home or manufacturing unit to pay-off their families’ debts as per the agreed contracts.
Trafficking of Children to Rajasthan for Labour:
- Uttar Pradesh
- West Bengal
Sectors employing child labour in Rajasthan:
- Carpet Weaving
- BT Cotton Agricultural fields
- Stone Mining
- Brick Industry
- Domestic Servants
Child Labour Statistics in Rajasthan
According to a report, “Children in India-2018” released by Union ministry of statistics and programme implementation, there are a number of child labourers in the state. The data is based on 2011 census.
According to Census 2011, Rajasthan reported 848,386 child workers, which was an enormous decrease
from 1,262,570 child workers in 2001.
Acts & Policies to prevent Child Labour
- As per Article 24 of the Constitution of India, no child below the age of 14 years is to be employed in any factory, mine or hazardous work.
- In the context of free and compulsory education for children, the Constitution defines the age of a child as 14 years.
- The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) 1986 – Amendment Bill, passed by Parliament on 22 July 2016, prohibits employment of children below 14 years completely and prohibits employment of adolescents (14–18 years) in hazardous occupations/processes.
- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act (JJ Act), 2000, through its amendment in the year 2006, mentions, any working child below the age of 18 years is a child in need of care and protection.
- The Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) of the Government of India aims to provide a safe and secure environment for overall development of children in need of care and protection, and children in conflict with law.
Rajasthan Government Initiatives:
- A separate State Child Policy was formulated in 2008 with a view to ensure comprehensive development of children, protection of their rights and mainstreaming children’s rights into all development agenda through convergence with various state departments.
- The Rajasthan State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (RSCPCR) started functioning in February 2010 as a statutory body under the Commissions for reviewing and monitoring the implementation of laws and policies relating to children. The Commission’s objective is to protect, promote and defend child rights in the State.
- The Rajasthan Government established separate Department for Child Rights vide notification dated 17 May, 2013 as an overarching administrative unit that would strengthen and streamline governance for children.