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Childhood is the golden period of man’s life. At this stage, children need love and care for their growth and development. However, the tragic irony of Indian social life is the employment of about 10 million children in unhealthy, hazardous and dangerous trades and industries. Barefooted, lean and thin children of tender age have to work in unworking conditions for 10 to 15 hours a day, which may include dhabas, brick kilns, small factories and cottage industries. Even small children are seen selling newspapers and other articles on the road which may be a risk to their lives.
The child-workers are generally ill-fed and treated like bonded labourers. They are often beaten at the slightest excuse and even underpaid. In South-India, thousands of children work in fire-crackers and match-factories. Many of them get killed in accidents and fires. In Uttar Pradesh lacs of children are employed in the carpet industry. In this industry, children have to work in inhuman conditions. The main reason that compels many poor parents to send their children to work in poverty.
The government admits the real solution lies in tike complete elimination of child labour. Though the government has enforced many measures these measures are effective only as long as there are facilities for the parents of such children to send them to school. It is a shame that India has the distinction of employing the largest number of children in most inhospitable and inhuman surroundings. This evil practice should be stopped by enforcing the Child Labour Act with all strictness and punishing the defaulters.
Efforts of the part of the general public and non-government organizations can help to tackle this problem. We should be aware of the problems of such deprived and exploited children in our society. We hope in the future that the children are not employed in our country and instead sent to school for education so that they can be sensible citizens.