Prelims level : International Mains level : GS-II Governance, Social Justice and IR
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Why in News:

  • The World Day Against Child Labour will be observed on 12 June to raise awareness about the plight of child labourers worldwide.

More in News:

  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the World Day Against Child Labour in 2002 to focus attention on the global extent of child labour and the action and efforts needed to eliminate it.
  • Each year on 12 June, the World Day brings together governments, employers and workers organizations, civil society, as well as millions of people from around the world to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them.

ILO defines child labour as:

  • “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development”.
  • In 2019, the International Labour Organization celebrates 100 years of advancing social justice and promoting decent work. The World Day Against Child Labour looks back on progress achieved over a 100 years of ILO support to countries on tackling child labour.
  • One of the first Conventions adopted by the ILO was on Minimum Age in Industry
  • This year also marks 20 years since the adoption of the ILO’s Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999
  • The theme for 2019: Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams
  • SDG target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals calls on the global community to:
  • “Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms.”
    Child Labour and India
  • Although comprehensive data on child labour are not available for India, as per the 2011 Census, in the age group 5-14 years, 10.1 million of 259.6 million constituted working children.
  • Even though there was a decline in the number of working children to 3.9% in 2011 from 5% in 2001, the decline rate is grossly insufficient to meet target 8.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),which is to end child labour in all forms by 2025.
  • 12% of all children in India are engaged in some form of child labour, according to data released by UNICEF in 2017.
  • Indian government introduced laws to curb this atrocity. For example,
  • The Child Labour Act in 1986 was the first large-scale prohibition against child labour, and A 2009 law called the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act tightened the child labour laws by guaranteeing free education for children under the age of 14.
  • National Child Labour project, which is a rehabilitative scheme providing bridge education and vocational training to adolescents.On World Day Against Child Labour (June 12) in 2017, India ratified two core conventions of the International Labour Organization on child labour. Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138): India is the 170th ILO member State to ratify Convention No.138. Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182): India is 181st member State to ratify Convention No. 182.

Steps India could take to Eliminate Child Labour:

  • Strengthen policy and legislative enforcement
  • Build the capacities of government, workers’ and employers’ organisations as well as other partners at national, State and community levels.
  • India should invest in enhancing its body of knowledge on child labour, emphasising quantitative information.
  • There are many common factors and drivers across the spectrum that push children into the labour market. These have to be addressed. Such factors and drivers can only be identified and analysed through proper research, surveys and assessments.
  • Utilise private sector to eliminate child labour from its domestic and multinational supply chains. It is also a matter of competitive advantage for multi-nationals to ensure that child labour is effectively eliminated in their supply chains. A sector-wide culture of child labour-free businesses has to be nurtured.
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