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The Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) | The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation Act, 1986)

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Combating the Menace of Child Labour

INTRODUCTION: Who is child? A young human being below the age of full physical development. A child of today cannot develop to be a responsible and productive member of tomorrow’s society unless an environment, which is conducive to his intellectual, physical and social health is assured to him. Child labour include children prematurely leading adult lives. According to the Webster’s Dictionary Child Labour is, “Employment of Children under the age of physical maturity in jobs requiring long hours”.

OBJECTIVES : The objectives are as stated below :
1. Rehabilitation of child labour.
2. Main streaming of child labour to formal schools.
3. A data base to be created on the number of working children and profile of parents.
4. Carefully analyze the economic, social background of children working as child labourers.
5. Enlightening the public regarding the evils of child labour.
6. Utilizing the human resources to the maximum possible.
7. Following the government policies regarding child labour.


NEED AN IMPORTANCE : As stated above, neglecting children means paralyzing a society wholly. If children are deprived of their childhood – socially, economically, physically and mentally- the nation gets deprived of potential human resources for the social progress, economic empowerment, peace an order social stability and good citizenry. Child labour has started posing as one of the big problem in India. Hence the need and importance to study child labour.

REVIEW OF LITERATURE : The present chapter has in its opening the definition is given by the ‘International Labour Organisation : “Child labour includes children prematurely leading adult lives, working long hours for low wages under conditions damaging to their health and to there physical and mental development. These children are some times separated from their families, frequently deprived of meaningful education and training opportunities that would open for them a better future”. The review of child labour may be classified as : 1.Studies on child labour, 2.Causes
3.Consequences and legislation.

DEFINITION : The definition of child labour varies under various labour enactments. According to these enactments, the minimum age for employment varies from 14 years to 18 years.

1. Late Shri V.V Giri defined the concept of child labour in two ways :
a. Employment of children in gainful occupations with a view to add an income to their families.
b. Purposeful oppression and exploitation of working children leading to deprivation of their legitimate opportunities of growth.

CLASSIFICATION AS PER THE REVIEW: Historical aspect on Child Labour in India:

In ancient India, it was the duty of the king to educate every girl or boy. However, no parent was punished for not sending the children to a Guru. Its also important point out that sometimes Children even less than 8 years of age were purchased to do low or dishonorable work. Kautilya in 4th century B.C prohibited the purchase & sale of children below 8 years. Children however assisted their parents in household activities and family craft.

The land owners used the labourers children to work on their farms or other economic activities. There was out burst of enormous growth of European industry in India especially during the mid of 19th century. It was after Industrial Revolution that new changes started taking place. Factory type units started opening up. Agriculture became more mechanized. Factories required labourers. Children were employed in a large number. In early 20th century, developing countries became conscious of the evils of this exploitation.


Category Percentage of male of female % of all Child workers child workers child workers

Cultivators 18. 78 14.46 16.70
Agricultural 40.90 53.43 46.94
Manifacturing 4.64 8.74 6.62
Serving and
Repairing in
House hold Industry
Others 35.68 23.37 29.74
Total 100.00 100.00 100.00

CAUSES OF CHILD LABOUR : Under this chapter an attempt is made to highlight the causes of child labour. A number of reasons can be cited here. How do governmental policies affect it? What role does education play in regard to child labour in India. A critical analysis of the answers may lead in the direction of a possible solution.

Families need money to survive and children are a source of additional income. Poverty itself has underlying determinants, one such determinant, being caste.Schedule caste tend to be pushed in to child labour because of their family’s poverty. The growth of industrial urban based production rapid rate of rural urban migration & the parallel growth in urban adult based activities force many child workers to be engaged. The combination of poverty and lack of a social security network form the basis of the even harsher type of child labour. BONDED CHILD LABOUR

ECONOMIC CAUSES OF CHILD LABOUR: For the poor, there are a few sources of bank loans, governmental loans or other credit sources, & even if there are sources available, few Indians living in poverty qualify. Here enters the money lender; for an average of two thousand rupees, parents exchange their child’s labour to local money lenders. Since the earnings of bonded child labourer are less than the interest on the loans, these bonded children are forced to work, while interest on their loans accumulates

1. Poverty
2. Parental Illiteracy
3. Tradition of making children
4. Absence of universal compulsory primary education
5. Social apathy and tolerance of child labour
6. Ignorance of the parents about the adverse consequences of child labour,
7. Ineffective enforcement of the legal provisions pertaining to child labour.
8. Non-availability of and non-accessibility to schools,
9. Irrelevant and non-attractive school curriculum,
10. Employers prefer children as they constitute cheap labour & they are not able to organize themselves against exploitation.

LEGISLATION ON CHILD LABOUR Article 24 of the Indian Constitution clearly states that “No child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed to work in any factory or more or employed in any hazardous employment”. Article 39(e) directs state policy such “that the health and strength of workers …..& the tender age of children are not abused & that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations unlimited to their age or strength.

Constitutional Provisions The Constitution of India emphasizes the importance of improving the well-being of children. Article 39 deals with the Directive Principles of the State Policy which stipulates that the State shall, in particular, direct its policy to ensure, that the health and strength of workers, both men and women and the tender age of children are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter into vocations unsuited to their age or strength. Also, that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against exploitation and moral and material abandonment.

According to Article 24 no child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or be engaged in any other hazardous employment. Article 45 stipulates that the State shall endeavour to provide free and compulsory education for all children until they complete 14 years of age. The Government of India in 1974 formulated a National Policy for Children which describes children as a supremely important asset. Since then the Government has initiated several measures to ensure that children are not denied their rights.

ICDS The Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) aims at improving the nutritional and health status of vulnerable groups including pre-school children, pregnant women and nursing by providing a package of services including supplementary nutrition, pre-school education, immunisation, health check-up, referral services and nutrition and health education. The Scheme is regarded as the most important tool for achieving the goals set in the National Plan of Action for Children to be achieved by the year 2000.

A special intervention under ICDS was devised during 1991-1992 for adolescent girls in the age group of 11-18 years aimed at meeting their special needs of self-development, nutrition, health education, literacy, recreation and skill formation. The Early Childhood Education Scheme was started in 1982 to reduce the drop- out rates and to improve the rate of retention of children in primary schools. India ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on December 2, 1992 and it represents a commitment to provide to Indian children a "First Call" on national resources. The Supreme Court in its ruling in December 1996 provided for a number of steps to end child labour.

One important development has been that due to several Government initiatives there has been a remarkable drop in the number of children working on factory floors. The manufacturing process has been decentralised and several processes have been shifted to homes. The glass industry of Ferozabad, pottery works of Khurja, fireworks factories of Sivakasi and the carpet industry of Mirzapur are some of the places which are reported to be employing children below 14 years. Sustained efforts by the Government and the non-Government organisations have brought in a conspicuous change. Parents have begun to realise the importance of education and its long- term benefits. There has been a remarkable drop in the number of children who are employed as labour force. Still a lot of ground has to be covered.

Remedial Measures In order to seriously combat the menace of child labour, it is essential to implement the policies relating to compulsory education which not only force children to attend school but also contribute appropriate funds to the primary education system. Children are growing up as illiterates because they have been working and not attending school. A cycle of poverty is formed and the need for child labour is reborn after every generation. So the benefits of different welfare policies have to percolate to the poorest of the poor families to enable attitudinal changes among the parents.
A UNICEF publication titled The Progress of Nations (1994) has observed that a day will come when the progress of nations will be judged not by their military or economic strength, nor by the splendour of their capital cities and public buildings but by the well- being of their people; by the levels of their health, nutrition and education, by the opportunities for their labourers; to earn a fair reward by their ability to participate in the decision that affects their lives; by the respect that is shown for their civil and political liberties; by the provision that is made for those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged and by the protection that is offered to the growing minds and bodies of their children.

CHILD LABOUR AFTER INDEPENDENCE The Indian constitution which came into force on January 26th 1950 laid down special protective measures for children from exploitation. The International Labour organization convention relating to childern’s Act was responsible for an amendment in 1951 which prohibited  Children between 15 and 17 years to work in railway & ports. The employers were required to maintain a register for Children under 12 tears in plantation. Consequently the Mines Act was enacted in 1952. This act specifically prohibited the employment of children under 15 years in mines. Adolscents could be employed in mines upon the satisfactory of two conditions firstly. He must have completed 16 years, & secondly, he must have a certificate of physical fitness from a doctor.


This Act may be called the child labour (prohibition and Regulation Act, 1986
1. It extends to the whole of India
2. The provisions of this Act others part III
Shall come into force at once, & part III
Shall come into force on such date, is the Central Government, may, by notification in the official Gazzette.

Definitions : 
1. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires.
a. appropriate Government means in relation to an establishment under the control of Central Govt.
b. “Child” means a person who has not completed his 14 year.
c. “Day” means a period of 24 hours beginning at midnight.
d. “Establishment” include a shop, commercial establishment, workshop, farm, residential hotel, restaurant, eating house, theater.
e. “Family”- in relation to an occupier means the individual, the wife or husband.
f. “Occupier” – in relation to an establishment or a workshop.
g. “Port athourity” means any authority administering a port.
h. Prescribed means prescribed by rules under section 18.
i. “week” means a period of 7 days.
j. “Workshop” means any premises.
The central Govt. after giving by notification in the official Gazette, not less than 3 months notice of its intention so to do, may, by like notification add any occupation.

2. 1. No child shall be permitted to work in any establishment in excess of such number of hours as may be prescribed for such establishment.
2. The period of work on each day will be fixed that no period shall exceed 3 hours & that no child shall work for more than 3 hours before he has had an interval rest for atleast one hour.
3The period of work shall be so arranged that inclusive of his interval for rest, under sub-section.
2. It shall not be spread over than six hours.
4. No, child, shall be permitted or required to work between 7 pm & 8 pm
5. No child shall be required to work overtime.
6. No child shall be required to work in any establishment on any day on which he has already been working in another establishment.

7.Every child employed in an establishment shall be allowed in each week, a holiday of one whole day.
8. 1) Every occupier in relation to establishment in which a child was employed or permitted to work immediately before the date of commencement of this Act, shall within the a period of 30 days from such commencement send to the inspector within whose local limits the establishment is situated, a written notice containing the following particulars, namely :

a. The name and situation of the establishment.
b. The name of the person in actual management.
c. The address to which communications relating to the establishment must be sent &
d. The nature of the occupation carried on in the establishment.
9.DISPUTES AS TO AGE : If any question arises between an inspector & an occupier as to the age of any child especially in the absence of a medical certificate be referred by the inspector for decision to the prescribed medical authority.


There shall be maintained by every occupier a register regarding the details of the children employed under him.
a. The name & date of birth of every child
b. Hours and periods of work & the intervals of rest.
c. The nature of work of any child.
d. Such other particulars as may be prescribed.

11. Every railway administration, every port authority shall cause to be displayed in a accessible place, as the case may be, a notice in the local languages.


12. 1) In the official Gazette, the Govt. may make rules for the health and safety of the children employed.
2) Without prejudice - The said rules may provide for all.
a) Cleanliness in the place of work & its freedom from nuisance
b) Disposal of wastes
c) Ventilation and temperature
d) Dust and fume
e) Artificial humidification
f) Drinking water
g) Latrine & urinals
h) Fighting
i) Spittoons
j) Fencing of machinery
k) Work at or near machinery in function
l) Employment of children on dangerous machines
m) Instructions training and supervision in relation to employment of children and so on
1. Any person, police officer or Inspector may file a complaint of the commission of an offence under this Act in any court of competent jurisdiction.
2. Every certificate as to the age of the child should be granted by a prescribed medical authority for the purposes of this Act, conclusion evidence of the child will be considered.
3. No court inferior to that of a Metropolitan Magistrate of the first class shall try an offence under this Act.

The appropriate Government may appoint inspector for the purpose of securing compliance with the provisions of this Act and any inspector so appointed shall be a public servant within the meaning of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

1. Every rule made under this Act by the Central Government an every notification issue under section (4), shall be laid before each House of Parliament while it is in session for a total period of 30 days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions and if before the expiry of the sessions immediately following the session or the successive sessions a foresaid both Houses agree making any modification in the rule.
2. Every rule made by a State Government under this Act shall be laid as soon as may be after it is made, before the Legislature of that State.

The data that provides the base for the finding of the present study are gathered through an interview schedule. Keeping in view the limitations of time, & resource under which the researcher undertakes field work, and the type of respondents to be studied, the interview method was preferred to questionnaire method.

n principal instrument is used to collect information from the field. A sample of 30 respondents was drawn from Gulbarga city. The child labourers were selected using a proportionate random sampling method to avoid the sample, however was, stratified on variables like caste, age, place of nativity, mother tongue, level of education economic position & so on

Gulbarga District is a part of Karnataka state in India. Before recognition of the state, it was an integral part of Hyderabad State in 1956 & now is an integral part of Karnataka state. Gulbarga district is situated in northern part of Karnataka state.

From the analysis obtained, here is the important data. The data has been collected on 30 part – time child labourers working in various field of Gulbarga city. The analysis of data mentioned below:
1) Personal details
2) Aim purpose of work
3) Educational details
4) Effects on health from work
5) Psychological effects

WORKING HOURS: The study has been conducted on the child labourers residing in Gulbarga city. Systematic analyzing of the date collection for the study has drawn out the following findings. 67% of child labourers are male & 33 % are female. 40% of them belong to Hindu religion & 60% to Muslim religion, 27% children reside in their own houses & 40% in work for financial assistance, 13% work on compulsion. 40% of them are satisfied with their work & 60% are not satisfied. 53% are satisfied with their wages 47% are not satisfied.

The mobilization & greater involvement of non-Governmental organizations in programmes for the development of children. It is important to make the general public aware of the evils of child labour, both hidden & overt. Educated people must avoid keeping children as labourers.
There shoul be ephasis on primary education in a proper mode. Revise legislation for prohibiting child labour to improve the economic standard of families. Workshops should be conducted in the urban-slum areas to generate a sense of consciousness among the illiterate class. There should be an enhanced co-ordination & interaction between judiciary & enforcing departments on child labour

Childhood holds the potential and also sets the limit to the future development of the society. How then can we continue this evil social problem to be with us? Children are the greatest gift to humanity. Neglecting children means depriving ourselves of a large number of human resources. The objectives of the action plan of adjust 2000 are to prevent children from working for wages or for a living in hazardous or non-hazardous occupations. The state plan of action aims at eliminating child labour in hazardous employment by the year 2005 and in non-hazardous employment by the year 2007. In continuation of these efforts, Tamil Nadu under the able guidance of Hon’able chief minister Dr. J. Jayalalitha, has adopted child labour eradication as one of its top priorities in its 15 point programme for making Tamil Nadu the best state in the country in every sphere.


A database should be created on the number of working children & profile of parents. A micro planning exercise should be under taken to identify available resources and infrastructure. The survey shold be carried out by an independent agency.

2. Rehabilitation of child labour:

The child labour should be released from work and admitted in National Child Labour project special schools in the districts where NCLP is functioning. In the non- NCLP districts the child labour should be admitted in the alternate schools proposed to run by the Education department under SARVA SHIKSHA ABHIYANA SCHEME.

3. Mainstreaming of child labour to Formal Schools. Children to be mainstreamed from NCLP special scools to formal schools after completion of their studies in the special schools.

To conclude, it is the duty of every educated person like us to create awareness about free education & child labour Act among people.

Contributing Writer: Shubha [email protected]


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