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India Struggles to Eradicate Child Labor

Given the extent of poverty throughout India, child labor has long been viewed as inevitable. Delhi is trying to change that, as the FT reports:

India’s government has proposed a ban on the employment of children under 14, as it tries to push more pupils into school and address an issue that has sullied the country’s image as an emerging economic powerhouse.

The proposed amendment to India’s existing child labour laws would impose a three-year jail term, and a fine of Rs50,000 ($900) for anyone who employs children under 14, or uses children under 18 in hazardous industries.

It isn’t likely that paper laws will do much in the short term to end the scourge of child labor in a country where hundreds of millions struggle to survive from day to day, and where bribery and corruption are deeply engrained in police and bureaucratic culture.

Still, this is a start. And it’s also a sign of a stirring civic consciousness in India that could lead to real change one day.

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  • Jim.

    This is another case where countries can only become more “enlightened” when they become more prosperous.

    Start with a government that rewards honest business dealings and punishes dishonesty. Just about everything will follow from that.

  • Luke Lea

    I can’t imagine an impoverished country banning child labor. None ever has in history as far as I know.

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