Facts on Child Labour in India

Introduction to Child Labour

Child labour is an activity of having children engaged in economic activity, on part or full-time basis, which may be hazardous to life. This deprives children of enjoying their childhood and also they may even not get their primary education or other basic necessities. This article spans a brief over Child Labour in India.

( Note: Labour and Labor have the same meaning. The later being used as a standard outside America )

Children Working on a construction site at Delhi

Children Working on a construction site at Delhi Image Source: npr.org


Constitutional Article on Child Labour in India

After independence, a number of rules and acts have been passed to stop acts of child labour in India at Industrial, Domestic and Individual level.

Article 24: Part of this Article clearly suggests that the fundamental rights of citizens must incorporate and prohibit any acts that indulge paid/unpaid means of employing of citizens below the age of 14. In addition to this, to encourage primary education Article 21-A and Article 45 state that proper infrastructure for compulsory and free education to all children below 14 must be developed by 1960.

India has a federal structure and thus both state and central governments can act legally in their own domains, where smaller domains must act on those in the higher hierarchy.

Please refer to the following recent Pages / Documents for latest Information on Child Labour:


  • Latest child labour survey in 2011 says that 1.68% of 5-14 years children were engaged in child labour. It seems to be a very small ratio but the looking further 1.68% equals to 4.35 million of children out of 259.64 million people with age group 5-14 years in India. Not to forget that these are the figures in an account, and the actual number may be higher.
  • UNICEF estimated that India may be the country with the highest number of child labourers in the world. More than any other country.
    i.e. 4.35 million child labourers.
  • Around 60% of Child labour in India is engaged in agricultural works.
  • Even with the presence of crime and strict child labour acts, 1% ( 1,20,000 children ) of total child workers are engaged in hazardous jobs.

Let us just consider once of exchanging your child’s one day with those of that child labourers!!

  • Imagine your child working in a construction site in scorching heat picking up bricks.
  • There are 363 million people [ accounted ] in India, under poor conditions. These families have a scarcity of resources and may be forced to have all members to work for wages.
  • In heavy rain, even today, if your child goes out for a play in rain you say “no beta, Shardi ho Jayegi, come back fast at a time”. Think now about those heart of 1,20,000 child’s mother. Do they don’t know all this? Surely they know. But, when the child take even a single holiday to say due to catarrh ( Shardi ) then that Rooti is not cooked on that bricks and wood in their poor huts. How will they go in such heavy rain at night 8 O’ clock and ask for the meal what so ever remaining in our house and while returning they have to take care whether there is no rain mixed in the vessel or a polythene bag? Just think when he/she will reach home and when will that sick child eat? All the rainwater is in their huts how and who and when will that water be taken out from their huts? Have we ever thought that? No, because we are least concerned so why do we think? But this is the indigestible everyday truth of Indian streets. Don’t you think guys, that on our birthdays it’s better to have a dinner with a poor one than to have parties with our friends just as a rasam of a Shaadi ( Marriage)?


The Union Cabinet has approved provisions to the Child Labour Amendment ( Reformation or Correction ) Bill, which 2012 says:

  • Children below the age of 14 cannot be employed anywhere, except in non-hazardous family enterprises or the entertainment industry, advertisement, films, television or sports activities, except the circus.
    ( But, critics questions how it would be ensured that the child is working in a non-hazardous family enterprise? And that he/she would be doing so only after school hours. )

At the moment, the sword is on the neck of those 1,20,000 children so let us talk about them. How will those 1,20,000 lives be railed back? Isn’t it supposed to be a simple thing to understand for any parent to let their children enjoy and study for their well-being? Then why do they insist on them to do the job? They are not fools. They too love their children as our parents do. 

What do you think will be the average number of members living in a poor family?

Let us estimate 7 ( reasons are illiteracy and no family planning ), though in some cases we get a number even greater than 7.

They are not educated so they may be working some around these jobs ( The parents ):

  • Sweeper in flats and offices
  • As an assistant in a shop
  • Sell vegetables on streets
  • Government sweepers

The wages the yearn are much less and a family can’t move in. So what so ever their junior hero earns is a help for their family. I don’t imply that the only cause of child labour is the scarcity of resources. Also that not all families are ignorant about education. The government has its efforts under the issue of primary education and services like dedicated Bus pickup, Free books, and Meal, etc are under implementation ( This is all true. )
Well, primary education is free. Thinking in the frame of such a parent,

” What will he earn after getting the primary education? Because only primary education is free. For a job it is necessary to at least be graduate. Here my family is financially not standing and after walking a miles if I send my child to school for higher education, and that too not free and without any warranty-guaranty that my child will earn enough because one side there are screams of unemployment for those who had already been well educated then how can I hope for a better job for my child who will be getting only primary education and for more I have to pay. Then isn’t this better to let him work at a tea stole serving tea or at a dhaba serving food. What so ever my hero earns. ”

Getting primary education is necessary for a child but it means nothing to a family that is working 10-12 hours a day and not earning enough to fill their empty stomach. Without understanding their CURRENT condition one goes and insists on them to let their child get an education that may be helpful in FUTURE. Good luck on that.

One has no need of getting sudden enlightenment on the issue. As per the scenario is considered, only structural changes and improvements by awareness and education can help us tackle the Three P’s.

Credits: Bhumit Thakkar


  1. Bhumit Thakkar June 17, 2015
  2. Jaydevsinh Raol June 19, 2015
  3. Jaydevsinh Raol June 19, 2015

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