Year 2021 has been declared as International year for elimination of child labour by UNO, and it has asked the International Labour organization to take lead in its implementation. The international year will be an ideal opportunity to reinvigorate efforts to achieve SDG target 8.7 to and all forms of child labour by 2025. Almost one in ten children worldwide are engaged in child labour. This year ‘World Day Against Child Labour’ focuses on action taken for 2021 as International year for elimination of child labour. It is the first World Day since the universal ratification of ILO s convention No. 182 on worst forms of child labour, and taking place at time when the COVID-19 crisis threatens to reverse years of progress in tackling problem. The world day against child Labour launched by International Labour Organisation is held every year on June 12 to foster worldwide movement against child labour. The day is used to spread awareness about the harmful mental and physical problems faced by children forced into child labour, all over the world.Children are our future and they deserve to be loved and cared. Childhood is time of learning, playing being carefree but unfortunately a lot of children in India are deprived of their childhood. Millions of children around the world are trapped in labour and instead of gaining skills, education and securing their future they are dragged into a life of poverty and despair. Child is meant to learn and not to earn. The practice of child is a crime and is therefore, a punishable offence in eyes of Law. However, for ages, people have been practicing child labour all over the World. Child labour is one of the most significant social issues that are prevalent even today. Child labour refers to the exploitation of children through paid or unpaid labour which hampers their child hood and interferes with their education, etc. All countries should take up the issue of child labour very sincerely as it destroys the children’s childhood and affects the future of the country as a whole. An educated generation means a bright future of the children going to school; they don’t look good with hands full of tools. The roadway to a healthy nation is to stop child exploitation through child labour.Children around the World are routinely engaged in paid and unpaid forms of work that are not harmful to them. However, they are classified as child Labourers when they are too young to work, or are involved in hazardous activities that may compromise their physical, mental, social or educational developments. In the least developed countries, slightly more than one in four children, aged 5 to 17 years, are engaged in labour that is considered detrimental to their health and development.In 2021, 152 million children worldwide are still in child labour, 73 million of them are in hazardous work. India accounts for second highest number cases of child labour. In India, in the age group of 5-14 years 10.1 million are in child labour. In addition, more than 42.7 million children are out of school. In rural areas they are mainly engaged as cultivators and agricultural labours. According to a survey jointly undertaken by the Ministry of Women and Child development and UNICEF, found that less than half of children in the age group of 10-14 years have completed primary education. In India, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh constitute nearly 55 per cent of total working children in India. Poverty and lack of proper education are considered the major contributory factor in child labour. The ongoing pandemic has done no good but augmented child labour. COVID-19 crisis has pushed thousands of vulnerable children into child labour. With classrooms shut and parents losing their jobs in the pandemic, thousands of families are putting their children to work and undoing our decades of progress in curbing child labour. In rural India, lockdown imposed pushed millions of people into poverty, encouraging trafficking of children from villages into cities for cheap labour.Indian government enacted a law against child labour in 1993 prohibiting dangerous work or activities that could harm the mental, spiritual, moral or social developmental of children under 18 years of age.But child labour continued as people exploited loopholes in the law. In 2006 and then again in 2016, the laws against child labour were tightened to ensure that children under the age of 14 were prohibited from working as domestic help or service staff. In addition, the law does not apply to 15 to 17 year old who are only prohibited from doing dangerous work. These laws also do not exclude activities such as field work, where children are exposed to pesticides or physically exhausting work like carpet weaving.Now, it is the time to be proactive about making child labour a viable issue, to initiate dialogues around it, to bring plausible solutions to the table and to start working towards them. The law on child labour in India provides for strict punishments for illegal labour of children but labour is still very much prevalent- the lack of awareness of the law and lack of implementation by authorities are the key reasons. Education plays a vital role in finding solutions to child labour. Educating each and every child is one of the best investments a country can make for its own development. Together, let’s pledge that child labour is a terrible crime and we would contribute to end this menace for welfare of coming generations.
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