The child labour ban: is it worth it?

I was just browsing through the International Herald Tribune online edition and I went on to read an interesting article on the new law banning child labour in homes and offices, to be effected next month. To be more precise, from 12th October. Most of the article dealt with questioning the utility of the law at present, or to be more accurate, it dealt with how the government has failed to come up with a pragmatic approach to solve the problem. The government has failed to study the finer nuances of the problem of child labour. It is not a minor hitch that could be solved overnight – just pass a new law, blink and yo, the crisis is over. The roots of the problem lies in the poverty that still prevails widely in the lower echelons of society and how the recent economic progress has failed to penetrate the thick middle class layer. How does the government plan to accommodate the thousands of freed children, their education and their upbringing?
It is not about just freeing them from the hard labour they have to go through, while children of the same age as them but from higher classes are going to school and enjoying their freedom, but also about thinking of their future. Why would their families take them back when they have no money to support them? Does the government plan to just free them and put them on the footpath? And this question itself arises if the law is implemented to its core. What about the rise in corruption that would definitely occur with the ought to be responsible police officers would charge the middle class families to turn a blind eye to their house? Is the government planning on raids on the middle class homes to implement the law? These are just few of the questions that instantly pop up in the mind of someone minutely interested in the fate of those underprivileged children.
Instead of freeing them, one ought to draft and implement policies that would secure their future in a more binding fashion. There are ought to be both short-term and long-term goals to succeed in this endeavour. The highest priority should go for removing poverty as a long term goal and empowering them to a level where each family is capable of sending their children to school.
The short term goals might comprise of implementing a law where the families in need of a child for house work, should take upon them the moral responsibility of teaching such kids. Another such goal could be doing a national survey and analysis on such kids, the reasons for the child labour and subsequently mold the lessons learned into a long term policy.
The future of India seems bright. With a huge bulging population, the bulk of which are children, the laws and policies ought to be in toe with our long term goal of being a developed nation by 2020. The children are the ones who would take over the rein from the present working class and if they are not well educated and well brought up, it would be difficult to pursue bigger goals in the near future.
Hopefully the government does have plans to back up this child labour ban with some concrete programme to eradicate poverty and illiteracy, the bane of all ills plaguing India.


2 thoughts on “The child labour ban: is it worth it?”

  1. thx but i guess that to start progressing at the blistering pace of china and to get anywhere near them in the far future we ought to get tough and start acting tough. i know they seem practically impossible in a country like India but come on, some day the first step ought to be taken. what say?


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