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Child Labour in India

Child labour is a widespread phenomenon in the world, occurring predominantly in developing countries. Recently, there has been renewed concern about the presence and impact of child Labour from politicians, activists and academics alike. Most of the popular discussion has centred on misleading statistics, harmful effects of child Labour and ways to curtail its incidence. Much of the recent theoretical literature has focused attention on the fact that the decision to send children to work is most likely made not by the children themselves, but by households who do so out of dire need. Poverty is considered to be the root cause of child Labour. In fact, this is not true and literacy and household effect are even bigger variables in the determination, and measurement of child Labour in a society. This raises the issue of the impact of literacy and schooling on child Labour and vice versa. Notwithstanding, a large and rapidly expanding literature on child Labour, there is not much empirical evidence on this issue since much of this literature has concentrated on socially, anthropologically, or somewhat psychologically, analysing the causes of child Labour rather than studying its consequences, especially for the impact of learning and household.

The present study seeks to fill this significant gap in the literature on child Labour. Broadly, the study can be divided into three parts; developing a reliable estimate to calculate number of children doing work, identifying important factors for child labour, and thirdly, developing a profile of today’s child Labourers. The exercise is conducted on a primary data set involving 5-14 years old children from Lahore & Bahawalpur divisions, Pakistan, using a multi-stage probability, proportional stratified systematic sampling scheme. Close ended questionnaire was specially developed keeping in view the field and data processing requirements of the project.

To avoid possible biases, proper interviewer’s training and practice sessions were conducted. Information was collected on family demographics, place of origin and current living status, personal information, current work history and conditions, personal behaviour, health, perceptions and knowledge and literacy level on a household basis from the house hold head. The estimator is developed using Sampford (1967) extension to Brewer (1963) approach for calculating internal selection probabilities. The numerical strength of child labour in these two divisions turns out to be 3,440,411 children which happens to be 32% of total children living in these two divisions. Monte-Carlo simulation is carried out to develop its probability distribution which turns out a bi-modal distribution. This bi-mode-less is probably because of different boys and girls labourers or due to different sizes of districts and tehsils included in the sample. This distribution is then used to develop confidence intervals associated with the total number of child labourers in these two divisions. Effect of household, literacy and poverty are quantitatively investigated and these turns out to be the biggest instrumental variables in the dynamics of child labourers. Specific generalized Poison regression models are developed for various situations to ascertain and gauge the veracity of associations and relationships between child labour dynamics and its causes like household demography, household poverty and household literacy. It turns out that household demography, including its physical and familial structure, plays a statistically significant role in the dynamics of child labour. Household poverty, on the second hand, turns out to be promotive for child labour. While, increasing household literacy turns out to be negatively associated with the dissemination of child labour. Multivariate cluster analysis is also conducted to develop a household characteristics based segmentation in the child labour community which results in three clearly separated clusters of labouring kids; mechanics, chotta, and girls. A multiple discriminant analysis is also conducted to develop a household characteristics based yard stick to index households for their propensity towards child labour. It also helps in identifying the potential entrants in this labour. In the end, a profile is developed for atypical child labourer on the basis of accumulated data envisaging different facets of his life. Such a profile is useful in understanding the life and miseries of a child labourer and his household


CHILD ABUSE is the physical, sexual or emotional maltreatment or neglect of a child or children. The united states, the centres for disease control and prevention (CDC) and the department for children and families define child maltreatment as any act or series of acts of commission or omission by a parent or caregiver that result in harm, or in the organizations ,schools or communities the child interacts with. There are four major categories of child abuse: neglect, physical abuse, psychological or emotional abuse and sexual abuse.

In western countries preventing child abuse is considered a high priority and detailed laws and policies exist to address this issue. Different jurisdictions have developed their own definition of what constitutes child abuse for the purpose of removing a child from his/her family or prosecuting a criminal charge. According to the journal of child abuse and neglect child abuse is “any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse presents an imminent risk of serious harm”.

Child abuse can take several forms the four main types are physical, sexual, psychological , and neglect.


Physical abuse involves physical aggression directed at a child by an adult. Most nations with child-abuse laws consider the deliberate infliction of serious injuries, or actions that place the child at obvious risk of serious injury or death, to be illegal. Bruises, scratches, burns, broken bones, lacerations, as well as repeated “mishaps,” and rough treatment that could cause physical injury, can be physical abuse. Multiple injuries or fractures at different stages of healing can raise suspicion of abuse. Physical abuse can come in many forms, although the distinction between child discipline and abuse is often poorly defined. However, the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations has stated that the prohibition of degrading treatment or punishment extends to corporal punishment of children. Since 1979, with Sweden as the first country in the world to prohibit all corporal punishment of children, a total of 46 countries around the world (as of 2015) have outlawed domestic corporal punishment of children.

“When you judge other people without wanting to know the true story behind their actions, it usually when there is something inside of you that is so broken that if you found out what you believed about them was a lie,you wouldn’t want to accept it or make amends”.

Penal labour is a generic term for various kinds of unfree labour which prisoners are required to perform, typically manual labour. The work may be light or hard, depending on the context. Forms of sentence involving penal labour have included penal servitude and imprisonment with hard labour. The term may refer to several related scenarios: labour as a form of punishment, the prison system used as a means to secure labour, and labour as providing occupation for convicts. These scenarios can be applied to those imprisoned for political, religious, war, or other reasons as well as to criminal convicts. Large-scale implementations of penal labour include labour camps, prison farms, and penal colonies.

Punitive labour, also known as convict labour,prison labour, or hard labour, is a form of forced labour used in both past and present as an additional form of punishment beyond imprisonment alone. Punitive labour encompasses two types: productive labour, such as industrial work; and intrinsically pointless tasks used as primitive occupational therapy, punishment and/or physical torment.

Sometimes authorities turn prison labour into an industry, as on a prison farm or in a prison workshop. In such cases, the pursuit of income from their productive labour may even overtake the preoccupation with punishment and/or re-education as such of the prisoners, who are then at risk of being exploited as slave-like cheap labour (profit may be minor after expenses, e.g. on security).

On the other hand, for example in Victorian prisons, inmates commonly were made to work the treadmill: in some cases, this was productive labour to grind grain; in others, it served no purpose. Similar punishments included turning the crank machine or carrying cannonballs. Semi-punitive labour also included oakum-picking: teasing apart old tarry rope to make caulking material for sailing vessels.

Ambedkar’s view:-

If there any person who secured the rights of Labourers in India, the person was none other than “Father of Modern India” & Revolutionary Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. Without Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, today the future of India Labours would have been in pitch darkness. He is the only leader in India who was multi-dimensional and a great visionary. After all he was born in the land of the most congenital castigate the nation we know as ‘India’. The staunch upper caste’s never give credit to Dr. Ambedkar’s contribution in building a great nation which today is one of the developing economies of the world. Thanks to his robust economic policies which have saved India even in the times of great Economic Depressions. Be it the founding guidelines of the RBI or the Principles of Free Trade, Dr. Ambedkar has given all the best for our Nation.

Here is some piece of valuable information to share about what Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar did for Labours as a Labour leader and as the Labour Member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council between 1942 and 1946. He was sworn as the Labour Member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council in July 7, 1942.

Brilliant contributions made by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar

Reduction in Factory Working Hours (8 hours duty) : Today the working hours in India per day is about 8 hours. We do not know that how many Indians know, Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was the Savior of Labours in India. He brought 8 hours duty in India and change the working time from 14 hours to 8 hours became a light for workers in India. He brought it on the 7th session of Indian Labour Conference in New Delhi, November 27, 1942.

Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar framed many laws for Women Labours in India :

Mines Maternity Benefit Act,

Women Labour welfare fund,

Women and Child, Labour Protection Act,

Maternity Benefit for women Labour, 5. Restoration of Ban on Employment of Women on Underground Work in Coal Mines,

Indian Factory Act.

National Employment Agency (Employment Exchange): Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar was instrumental in bringing the establishment of employment exchanges. He created employment exchanges in India as the Labour member in Provincial government in British India after the end of 2nd world, so also the tripartite mechanism of settling Labour issues through trade unions, Labours and the government representatives and introducing skill development initiative in the government sector. Due to his relentless efforts ‘National Employment Agency was created.

Employees State Insurance (ESI): ESI helps the workers with medical care, medical leave, physically disabled during working injuries as compensation Insurance for providing various facilities. Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar enacted and brought it for the benefit of workers. Actually India only brought ‘Insurance Act’ as the first nation among the East Asian countries. Credit goes to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.

Unlike a drop of water which loses its identity when it joins the ocean, man does not lose his being in the society in which he lives. Man’s life is independent. He is born not for the development of the society alone, but for the development of his self. Ambedkar


Author- Shivangi Agarwal

B.Com.LL.B(Hons*), 2nd Semester

Faculty of Law

Dr. Shakuntala Misra National Rehabilitation university, Lucknow.

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