The following example essay on “Background of Child Labor” talks about bringing children into work on a regular basis, which is now considered a form of exploitation in most countries.

The evil of child labour has been in existence from time immemorial. It has been shown its prevalence from ancient Indian Period to the modern or industrialised era. The problem relating to child labour varied in its nature and dimension on the socio economic structure of the society in every period.

But due to the rapid urbanisation and industrialisation now it becomes very complex and crucial nature, which resulting in social disorganisation. It is however, not to be supposed that child labour was non-existent in the country before.

Labour has been helping the socio-economic development of human beings and social evolution from the primitive animal stage of man to modem civilized society. Without labour, production is inconceivable. It is the principal creator of all the wealth possessed by the human society.

Labour is the great creative force. Technology improves labour productivity. Child labour is an integral part of labour force, especially in poor countries. They have to enter the labour market at an early age. The owners of means of production in poor countries exploit these children. Because of their tender age these children cannot do anything for the injustices meted out to them by the owners.

The definition o f child labour is not uniform all over the world. It is also by no means the same in all statutes that refer to the employment of children.

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But, for understanding the concept of child labour let us examine some of the important definitions. Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences defines child labour as. When the business of wage earning or of participation in itself or family support conflicts directly or indirectly with the business of growth and education the result is child labour.

According to Second Law Commission on Labour, Children out of home away from family, working for wages and the place of work unfriendly and unsuitable for their wellbeing are child labour. Census of India covers a wider definition and says, Any child engaged in productive work, with or without compensation, wages or profit is child labour.

Government of Andhra Pradesh, defines, All children out of school are child labour. The definition explains that being out of school is equal to the worst form of child labour. It may be termed as hazardous, intolerable circumstances and harmful to the overall growth and development of the child. The government has notified Education Department as the nodal department to deal with elimination of child labour.

UNICEF suggests, Childrens work needs to be seen as happening along a continuum, with destructive or explorative work at one end and beneficial work-promoting or enhancing childrens development without interfering with their schooling, recreation and rest- at the other. And between these two poles are vast areas of work that need not negatively affect a childs development.

According to ILO, child labour is a work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and one that is harmful to their physical and mental development. It refers to work that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children, or work whose schedule interferes with their ability to attend regular school; or work that affects in any manner their ability to focus during school or experience healthy childhood.

The Committee on Child Labour stated that Child Labour can broadly be defined as that segment of child population in work either paid or unpaid. In 1980, a study on child labour was conducted in Bombay. In that study, Singh and others held the view that child labour means a working child who is between 6 and 15 years of age and who cannot attend school during the day, as he has to work under an employer or has to learn some trade as an apprentice.

In India, various laws have been enacted on child labour. The definition of child labour in these Acts varies from one Act to another. The precise age of what constitutes child labour has not been laid down anywhere because of variations in the age of child as given under different legislative enactments.

Under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1939, child has been defined as a person under the age of eighteen years. As per the Plantation of Labour Act, 1951, originally Section 2(c) provided that Child means a person who has not completed his fifteenth year. Section 24 of the Act laid down that, No child who has not completed his twelfth year shall be required or allowed to work in any plantations. By Section 24 of Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, the word fifteenth used in Section 2(c) was substituted by the word fourteenth. The Act omitted Section 24 of the Plantations Labour Act, 1951.

In the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958, employment of children below the age of fourteen years as seamen has ordinarily been prohibited. Persons below eighteen years cannot be employed as trimmer and stokers.

According to the Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961, child means a person who has not completed his fourteenth years. Section 21 of the Act provides, No child shall be required or allowed to work in any capacity in any motor transport undertaking. Section 22 lays down that no adolescent shall be required or allowed to work as a motor transport worker in any motor transport undertaking unless-

  • a certificate of fitness granted with reference to him under Section 23 is in the custody of the employer and
  • such adolescent carries with him while he is at work, a token giving a reference to such certificate. Adolescent according to the Section 2(a) of the Act, means a person who has completed his fourteenth year, but has not completed his eighteenth year.

According to Section 2 (b) of the Beedi and Cigar Workers (Conditions of Employment) Act 1966, Child means a person who has not completed fourteenth year of age. Section 24 of the Act provides, No child shall be required or allowed to work in any industrial premises.

The Mines (Amendment) Act, 1983, provides that no person below eighteen years of age shall be allowed to work in any mine or part thereof. It is clear from all the definitions, that child labour must be prohibited but child work should be appreciated. Whether or not particular forms of work may be called child labour depends on the childs age, the type and hours of work performed, the conditions under which it is performed and the objectives pursued by individual countries. The answer varies from country to country, as well as among sectors within countries.

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Background of Child Labour. (2019, Dec 13). Retrieved from

Background of Child Labour
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