Child labour is a major problem in India. It is a great challenge that the country is facing. The prevalence of it is evident by the child work participation rates which are higher in India than in other developing countries. Estimates cite figures of child labour between 60 and 115 million working children in India, the highest number in the world (Human Rights Watch, 1996). It is basically rooted in poverty. It is poverty that forces a child to earn money to support his family. Though it is prevalent in the whole of the country, the problem is acute in socio- economically weaker States like UP, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and North-Eastern States. Besides poverty, lack of education, and accessible sources of credit forces poor parents to engage their children as child labour. The big challenge for India, as a developing country is to provide nutrition, education and health care to these children.
There are more children under the age of fourteen in India than the entire population of the United States. Over 85 per cent of this child labour is in the country’s rural areas, working in agricultural activities, such as farming, livestock rearing, forestry and fisheries. This labour is outside the formal sector, and also outside industry. Moreover, nine out of ten children working children work within a family setting. During the course of working in their family setting, children also develop skills in certain traditional crafts. In this way they contribute in the capital formation of the country.
The Government of India is keen to eradicate child labour. India’s unequivocal commitment to the cause of children is well expressed in constitutional provisions, legislations, policies and programmes. The Directive Principles of State Policy and the fundamental rights find mention of their commitment of government
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