Saturday, October 14, 2006


Child Labour

Child Labour

Now that the ban on child labour in domestic work and eateries has come into effect, I was a bit surprised to find some material (1) (2) on the web which insists that the ban is bad.

While people have the absolute freedom to have their own opinion, I am a bit startled by one blog statement which holds that the problem is related to religion and family planning. Religion and population may or may not influence existence (or absence) of child labour. As an individual who, in his official capacity as an officer of the Labour Department of Government of Kerala, I never found any of the so called `factors' which allegedly cause child labour exist in any of the cases of child labour I have come across. Such cacophony only distracts from the real causes of child labour. I may be wrong in the list below, but they represent the most common causes of child labour in the instances of child labour I detected.

  • poverty
  • cheap labour
  • desire to gain sympathy
  • laziness on part of parents / guardians

    Do not bother me with questions like what I did when I came across the cases of child labour; At the time I detected them, it was legitimate to employ children doing those jobs.

    I wish to reiterate that nothing above is government policy; nor does anything above detract from my liability or ability to enforce government's policy.

  • Comments:

    Just noticed your posting. I appreciate your opinion. I think it's good that we can discuss this openly and share differences or similarity in conclusions.

    I had said two things about religion. Specifically:
    Organized religions pushing against family planning, sexual education, and oppressing womens rights.
    - religious organizations must be forced to accept, encourage and provide contraception to their audience. Iran was able to do this, a secular country like India should be able to achieve this too.

    You had said: " Religion and population may or may not influence existence (or absence) of child labour."

    I am trying to understand what you mean by this. Is it correct for me to interpret that you feel that religion does not influence birthrate? If this is the case, then we disagree on that point. I will need to find evidence that shows birthrate and religion to be highly correlated.

    I believe that birthrate is tied strongly to the existence of child labour. If the birthrate was low, and each family had only one child, then it is highly unlikely that the child would be sent for work. Instead, the family would be more likely to dedicate resources to accomodate the child's education and such. This is what I observe as a result of China's one child policy. [ But I'm not advocating we copy China in India ] What is your opinion of this?

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