In this hundred and thirty-third archive story by Kristian Bertel, we learn about the amount of children working in India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
Child labour is the practice of having children engage in economic activity, on part- or full-time basis. The practice deprives children of their childhood and is harmful to their psysical and mental development. Poverty, lack of good schools and growth of informal economy are considered as the important causes of child labour in India. In this photograph a boy is selling his balloons at the Juhu Beach in Mumbai, India.
Child labour is the practice of having children engage in economic activity, on part- or full-time basis. The practice deprives children of their childhood and is harmful to their psysical and mental development. Poverty, lack of good schools and growth of informal economy are considered as the important causes of child labour in India. In this photograph a boy is selling his balloons at the Juhu Beach in Mumbai, India.

Child labour in India

The country of India is home to the largest number of children who are working illegally in various industrial industries. Agriculture in India is the largest sector where many children work at early ages to help support their family. Many of these children are forced to work at young ages due to many family factors such as unemployment, large families, poverty and lack of parental education. This is often the major cause of the high rate of child labour in India.

What is child labour?

Child labour refers to the exploitation of children through any form of work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and is mentally, physically, socially and morally harmful. Such exploitation is prohibited by legislation worldwide, although these laws do not consider all work by children as child labour.

Amount of child labourers in India
The national census of India once found that the total number of child labourers to be at 10.1 million, out of the total of 259.64 million children in that age group. The child labour problem is not unique to India and worldwide about 217 million children work, many full-time. The term 'child labour' is best defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity and that is harmful to physical and mental development. Interferes with their schooling by depriving them of the opportunity to attend school obliging them to leave school prematurely or requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy work.

But child labour can be defined differently Kristian Bertel | Photography learned while traveling in India. A child is involved in child labour activities if between 5 and 11 years of age, he or she did at least one hour of economic activity or at least 28 hours of domestic work in a week, and in case of children between 12 and 14 years of age, he or she did at least 14 hours of economic activity or at least 42 hours of economic activity and domestic work per week. Children's work needs to be seen as happening along a continuum, with destructive or exploitative work at one end and beneficial work – promoting or enhancing children's development without interfering with their schooling, recreation and rest – at the other. And between these two poles are vast areas of work that need not negatively affect a child's development.

"India defines child labour as participation of a child less than 17 years of age in any economically productive activity with or without compensation, wages or profit. Such participation could be physical or mental or both. This work includes part-time help or unpaid work on the farm, family enterprise or in any other economic activity such as cultivation and milk production for sale or domestic consumption"

Two groups of child laboureres in India
The Indian government classifies child labourers into two groups, where the first group are the main workers are those who work 6 months or more per year. The second group are the marginal child workers are those who work at any time during the year but less than 6 months in a year. Some child rights activists argue that child labour must include every child who is not in school because he or she is a hidden child worker. However, it is pointed out that India faces major shortages of schools, classrooms and teachers particularly in Rural areas in India, where 90 percent of child labour problem is observed. About one in five primary schools have just one teacher to teach students across all grades.

Child labour through history
After its independence from colonial rule, India has passed a number of constitutional protections and laws on child labour. The Constitution of India in the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy prohibits child labour below the age of 14 years in any factory or mine or castle or engaged in any other hazardous employment. The constitution also envisioned that India shall, by 1960, provide infrastructure and resources for free and compulsory education to all children of the age 6 to 14 years. India has a federal form of government and labour being a subject, both the central and state governments can and have legislated on child labour.

Causes for child labour
For much of human history and across different cultures, children less than 18 years old have contributed to family welfare in a variety of ways. It is suggesteds that Poverty is the biggest cause of child labour and that in rural and impoverished parts of developing and undeveloped parts of the world, children have no real and meaningful alternative. Schools and also teachers are unavailable. Child labour is the unnatural result. Other people concludes poverty and inadequate public education infrastructure are some of the causes of child labour in India. Between boys and girls it is found that girls are two times more likely to be out of school and working in a domestic role. Parents with limited resources have to choose whose school costs and fees they can afford when a school is available. Educating girls tends to be a lower priority across the world, including India. Girls are also harassed or bullied at schools, sidelined by prejudice or poor curricula. Solely by virtue of their gender, therefore, many girls are kept from school or drop out, then provide child labour the Photographer learned.

"Poverty is the greatest single force driving children into the workplace. Income from a child's work is felt to be crucial for his or her own survival or for that of the household. For some families, income from their children's labour is between 25 and 40 percent of the household income"

Lack of availability and quality of schooling
According to a study among the most important factors driving children to harmful labour is the lack of availability and quality of schooling. Many communities, particularly rural areas do not possess adequate school facilities. Even when schools are sometimes available, they are too far away, difficult to reach, unaffordable or the quality of education is so poor that parents wonder if going to school is really worthwhile. In government-run primary schools, even when children show up, government-paid teachers do not show up 25 percent of the time. A study suggests that illiteracy resulting from a child going to work, rather than a quality primary and secondary school, limits the child's ability to get a basic educational grounding which would in normal situations enable them to acquire skills and to improve their chances for a decent adult working life. The presence of a large number of child labourers is regarded as a serious issue in terms of economic welfare. Children who work fail to get necessary education and they do not get the opportunity to develop physically, intellectually, emotionally and psychologically. In terms of the physical condition of children, children are not ready for long monotonous work because they become exhausted more quickly than adults. This reduces their physical conditions and makes the children more vulnerable to disease.

Children in hazardous working conditions are even in worse condition. Children who work, instead of going to school, will remain illiterate which limits their ability to contribute to their own well being as well as to the community they live in. Child labour has long term adverse effects for India. To keep an economy prospering, a vital criterion is to have an educated workforce equipped with relevant skills for the needs of the industries. The young labourers today, will be part of India's human capital tomorrow. Child labour undoubtedly results in a trade-off with human capital accumulation.

hild labour in India are employed with the majority 70 percent in Agriculture some in low-skilled labour-intensive sectors such as 'Sari' weaving or as domestic helpers, which require neither formal education nor training, but some in heavy industry such as coal mining. There are tremendous economic benefits for developing nations by sending children to school instead of work. Without education, children do not gain the necessary skills such as English literacy and technical aptitude that will increase their productivity to enable them to secure higher-skilled jobs in future with higher wages that will lift them out of poverty.

Read also:  Juhu Chowpatty

Read also:  Juhu Chowpatty

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of an Indian boy in Mumbai. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.