India has the largest number of child labourers in the world. Since 1933, various laws have been enacted but the issue exists continuously on larger grounds. According to the National Sample Survey Organisation, nearly 16. 4 million Indian children aged 5-14 are engaged in various works while the World Bank puts that figure at 44 million. The Ministry of Labour issued a notification on October 10, 2006, for banning child labour and warns those who choose child labour of imprisonment. But, at present, there is no wider change in the child labour scenario.
The livelihood of a child is determined by the socio-economic conditions of the family. A child in a rich family enjoys all privileges, whereas a child born in poor family suffers, indeed, even to enjoy the childhood. Mostly, the child labourers are employed in small-scale industries and for domestic. Child labourers are treated as slaves and not even as labourers. Most of the studies report that these labourers are in the age group of 8 to 11 and they are made to work 12 hours a day and meagre wages are paid to them.
By considering the poverty-stricken families, the Government affords education, noon meals, uniform, notebook, transport, footwear and health care free of cost. But still, we are unable to change society’s attitude regarding child labour. The first Act in India relating child labour was the Enactment of Children (Pledging of Labour) Act of February 1933. This was followed by the Employment of Children Act, in 1938. Since then, there have been 12 different pieces of legislation on child labour.