Child Labour is one of the serious hurdles on the path of human development in India. Adverse effects of child labour have been accepted by the world and internationally, steps are being taken to check it. Indian Government has also taken some positive steps in this direction.
Ever since independence, the government of India has taken several measures to eradicate the menace of child labour. There have been specific legislations aimed at curbing the problem, and punishing the offenders.
Also, several social programs for the rehabilitation for children who are rescued from child labour are run at the central and state level. In recent years, there has been a major emphasis on providing basic education for all children, which is a long-term answer to this social menace.
In 1988, the government of India launched the National Child Labour Project (NCLP). Initially, the scheme was implemented in nine districts with a high concentration of child labour. The scheme involves establishment of special schools for child labour who are withdrawn from work.
These special schools provide formal and informal education along with vocational training, and also provide a monthly stipend. Other facilities such as supplementary nutrition and health care are also provided to such children. The number of districts covered under the NCLP Scheme were increased to 100 in the 9th five-year plan and further increased to 250 in the 10th plan.
On August 15, 1994, the government of India launched a major program to remove child labour working in hazardous occupations, and to rehabilitate them by setting up special schools for them. Under the programme, a total of two million children are sought to be brought out of work and put in special schools where they are provided with education, vocational training, monthly stipends, nutrition and health-checks.
A highly powerful body, the National Authority for the Elimination of Child Labour (NAECL) was established on September 26, 1994, headed by the Union Minister of Labour in the government of India.
There are credible efforts being made at the administrative level to eliminate the problem of child labour. Also, there are several voluntary organizations working for the rescue and rehabilitation of child labour in India.
Education for all children is the key that can bring about a fundamental change and help to end the problem permanently. A collective public and governmental effort on various fronts will eventually lead to the complete eradication of child labour menace from India.