Child labour continues to be a worldwide problem. According to ILO’s Global Report 2006, it affects the lives of 218 million children. This number is probably under reported because many children engaged in domestic work or agricultural or home based industries are many often not included in the official figure. India has the distinction of the largest number of working children in the world today. Indian official statistics speak about almost 13 million children, but unofficial estimates vary between 60 and 100 million children1. This coincides with estimates of NGO’s that around 40% of all 250 million children between 6 and 14 years are not in school on a given day.
Child labour hampers the normal physical, intellectual, emotional and moral development of a child. Children who are in the growing process can permanently distort or disable their bodies when they carry heavy loads or are forced to work near burners/ gas stoves adopt unnatural positions at work for long hours. Children are less resistant to diseases and are easily affected physically, cognitively, emotionally, socially and morally. Children do not work out of their own choice but ion most cases are compelled to work because of situations which are beyond their control. One most serious causes of the prevalence of child labour in India is livelihood and poverty. Children are considered as economic assets of poor families. At very young age they are pushed to work for supplementing the family income. Poverty caused by natural disasters, droughts, forced migrations, the push to urban areas for survival, economic crises, displacement and armed conflict also lead to situations of increase in child labour. Labour economics also plays a role in increasing child labour. Child labour is cheap labour. Children are employed instead of adults to lower the costs of production. Further children are being engaged to work because they can be forced to work for long hours. It is a factor of cutting the costs for the employer.