Child Labour – Causes, Types, Child Labour UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Child Labour has become one of the biggest concerns for the authorities to overcome in India. Increased economic insecurity in recent years and reduced household income have pushed the children to become a part of the Child Labour force. The covid-19 pandemic has forced children from poor households to contribute to the income of their families. As a result, Child Labour has increased significantly.

However, not all the factors resulting in Child Labour were created by the pandemic. Most of the factors were pre-existing. In this article, we are going to delve deeper into the types, causes of Child Labour highlighting its impact, and initiatives taken by the government to curb it. The information provided by this article would be highly beneficial for the UPSC exam.

What is Child Labour?

As per the definition by the Internation Labour Organisation, Child Labour can be defined as the work that takes away childhood from children and their potential and dignity, which is harmful to both their mental and physical development.

Child Labour UPSC Notes

In most extreme forms, the International Labour Organization explains Child Labour as children being separated from their families and exposed to hazards and illness at a very early age. However, those children who involve in work without harming their health and affecting their education are not Child Labour.

Child Labour in India

As per the International Labour Organisation, 10.1 million children between the age of 5-14 years are working in India. This data was on the basis of the Census of 2011.

  • In addition, the total child population in India in the age group of 5014 is 259.6 million. Out of the 3.9%, which is equal to 10.1 million, are working as the main worker.
  • Also, 42.7 million children in India were out of school. But the good news is there was a decline in the number of children affected by Child Labour in 2011 as compared to 2001.
  • Below we have provided the list and number of children affected by Child Labour as per the Census of 2011 in different states of India.
States Numbers (In million)
Uttar Pradesh 2.18
Madhya Pradesh 0.70
Maharashtra 0.73
Rajasthan 0.85
Bihar 1.09

Types of Child Labour in India

Child Labour must be seen in line with the different categories. The different nature of Child Labour in India includes

  • Bonded Child Labour: it means the employment of a child against the debt, loan, or social obligation by the family of the child.
  • Migrant Children: those who are migrated from other locations with family are usually forced to drop out of schools and get involved in Child Labour.
  • Street Children: the children living on the streets, such as ragpickers, beggars, shoeshines children, etc.
  • Working Children: those who are working as a part of family labor.
  • Children for Sexual Exploitation: many young girls and boys are forced to get involved in sexual activities.
  • Gender-Specific: here, Child Labour is gender-specific. For example, girls are being engaged in domestic and home-based work, and on the other hand, boys are working as wage laborers.

Causes of Child Labour in India

There are various factors that contribute to Child Labour in India. We have mentioned all of them below.

  • Population – the population of India has increased rapidly. The job opportunities available compared to the population of the country are fewer. It is one of the factors behind Child Labour.
  • Poverty Poverty is one of the main causes of Child Labour in India. Here the income from a child’s work is required for his or her own survival and also for the household.
  • Orphans – orphans get involved in working to meet their daily needs. New provisions in Indian Constitution should be made that would focus on educating the orphans so they can avoid working at a young age.
  • Debt Trap – financial backlog and debt are the reasons that lead to Child Labour.
  • Deman for Child Labour – the rising demand for Child Labour in big cities is also responsible for increasing Child Labour.

Impacts of Child Labour

Child labour has significant and far-reaching impacts on the lives of children, families, communities, and societies as a whole. Here are some of the key impacts of child labour:

  • Physical Risk – the children are exposed to many physical risks in various work sectors. As they work for long hours without having a proper diet can lead to a lack of physical and mental development.
  • Affect Childhood – Child Labour takes away childhood from the children. It doesn’t allow the child to get her/his right to education and leisure.
  • Impact on Adult life – Child Labour doesn’t allow the child to develop skills that are important to have good opportunities for decent work when they grow up.
  • Affect Country – the increment of Child Labourers has a bad impact on the overall economy of the country, and it is a senior obstacle to the socio-economic welfare of the country.

Acts Related to Child Labour in India

Child Labour has become a big matter of concern for both Union and state governments. A number of legislative initiatives have been taken at both levels. Below we have mentioned the major national legislative developments that aim for Children’s Welfare in India.

  • Factories Act, 1948
  • Mines Act, 1952
  • National Child Labour Programme, 1988
  • Article 24 of the Indian Constitution
  • Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) of Children Act, 2000
  • Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986
  • Right to Education Act, 2009

Child Labour UPSC

Child Labour comes under the Issues Related to Children and Government Policies & Interventions sections of UPSC GS-2 of Syllabus. Comprehending the multifaceted dimensions of child labour becomes imperative for aspirants seeking to address social challenges and promote inclusive development. That’s why aspirants must cover this topic comprehensively with the best UPSC study material to answer the related questions easily.

Child Labour UPSC Questions

Question: Which of the following is the definition of child labor as per the International Labor Organization (ILO)? a) Any work performed by children under the age of 14 b) Any work performed by children under the age of 16 c) Any work performed by children under the age of 18 d) Any work performed by children that is harmful to their physical or mental development

Answer: d) Any work performed by children that is harmful to their physical or mental development

Question: Which of the following is a consequence of child labor? a) Improved educational opportunities for children b) Enhanced social and emotional development of children c) Impaired physical and mental health of children d) Increased income generation for families

Answer: c) Impaired physical and mental health of children

Question: The legal framework for addressing child labor in India is primarily governed by: a) Right to Education Act b) Juvenile Justice Act c) Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act d) Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act

Answer: c) Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act

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