- 07/16/2019 at 9:26 am #1488963EduGorillaKeymasterSelect Question Language :
Direction: Read the given passage and answer the questions that follow.
Interpretations of child labor as an ingrained consequence of poverty, an impediment to genuine democracy and development, and a caste-based practice reinforced by deep-seated biases, inform the range of policy recommendations. The challenge of effective policy design echoes the paradox of India’s steady rise as an economic and technological powerhouse, despite the persistence of poverty and underdevelopment. Development and human rights-minded analyses of child labor as an economic phenomenon dominate the literature concerned with policy solutions. Economic-based research on bonded labor in India centers on the links between fertility, poverty, and access to education, while bearing in mind the policy options available to the government.
The struggle emerges in the debate—which receives limited official policy attention—over whether to enforce the ban on child labor, attempt to curb it, or maintain the status quo. Economists attribute the persistence of bonded labor and child labor to a variety of factors: longstanding caste-based discrimination, inequality, a lack of educational opportunities, high fertility levels among poor Indians—overall, to poverty as a self-reinforcing cycle. Others challenge the position that child labor will be eradicated after poverty has been eliminated. As labor—the engine of the country’s increasing technological sophistication and growth—drives India toward a more equitable future, the state may gradually move away from its traditional roots and move in the direction of ensuring human rights protections for all citizens.
Some analysts argue that poverty alleviation is the government’s most promising approach to the eradication of bonded child labor, given the self-perpetuating patterns of illiteracy, inferior or nonexistent education, and children’s prevalent work participation. Welfare programs and the provision of incentives for families not to send their children to work are components of suggested strategies to fight child labor. Other researchers disagree with the notion that the link between poverty and child labor is inevitable; their approach highlights the “human security” approach to economic and social development, in which case ensuring the rights of the child is a social and state responsibility.
The case for compulsory primary education, made prolifically by Myron Weiner, suggests that change must come from within the Indian legal framework, and must be supported by official attitudes, in order to overcome profound class divisions and to achieve the government’s broader free-market goals. Efforts to make primary education compulsory would require an interpretation of education as not only a constitutional principle, but also as a fundamental right enforced by the state. This perspective views education as the main alternative to lifelong labor for all Indians, and as a building block in the construction of a diverse, educated human resource base capable of supporting a more open and competitive economy.
Exploitation of children working in dangerous conditions not only results in constraints on a child’s health and development, but also solidifies his or her fate as an unskilled, low-paid worker. A greater focus on female education would precipitate a decline in both fertility—seen as a self reinforcing cause and effect of child labor—and in children’s work participation.
The debate amongst analysts of the economics of forced labor, particularly of bonded working children, revolves around whether work can be eradicated completely—or whether current labor conditions in India are acceptable given the economic demands of underdevelopment. The suggestion has also been posited that “learn and earn” policies, which combine work and school, may be feasible. For the most part, the government fails to enforce extant laws. Whether child labor should and can be completely outlawed and the ban enforced, or whether the economic system in India can realistically allow for all children to attend school, have remained at the crux of the debate for some time.
Bonded labor in India can be viewed as a product of social, historical, economic, and cultural factors. The redress of child labor, agricultural debt bondage, and other violations will require an authentic commitment by the Indian government to adhere to its constitutional ban of these practices, and to overcome class-based prejudices. The Western notion of social responsibility outside of family loyalties does not exist in India. Within a few generations, poor, low-caste Indians enter and perpetuate a cycle of poverty and illiteracy; children often abandon school and join the workforce. The effects of an increasingly sophisticated and prosperous India have not reached its poorest and least educated citizens. What remains to be seen is whether India—as its development and economic trajectories improve—will invest meaningfully in the protection of human rights and of its labor force, which is a challenge that other rising giants like China also face.
The Supreme Court of India has interpreted bonded labor as the payment of wages that are below the prevailing market wage or the legal minimum wage. As a response to complaints of human rights violations, the Court relies on Public Interest Law (PIL) whereby citizens are able to petition India’s courts if they believe their rights, or the rights of their fellow citizens, are being denied. The Supreme Court’s two major examinations of child labor in 1991 and 1997 resulted in PIL rulings that emphasized the role of poverty, and promoted children’s education. However, the Court refused to ban child labor outright, citing its role as a judicial and not a legislative body.
The Indian government has not yet actively linked economic development to human rights violations at work. A recent government measure to raise the minimum wage for children exemplifies a lagging commitment to the eradication of child labor in particular, by essentially legitimizing children’s work obligations and conditions. Nevertheless, the decision of the Supreme Court to establish a rehabilitation and welfare program for working children, in addition to the efforts of the National Human Rights Commission, have been instrumental in sensitizing policymakers to the serious problem of child labor.
Despite India’s international commitments against bonded labor, constitutional guarantees against hazardous child labor, and the enactment of the Child Labour Act and the National Child Labour Policy in 1986, India cannot claim adequate enforcement of prohibitions. Officials at various levels continue to exploit legal loopholes. The Supreme Court’s two major examinations of child labor in 1991 and 1997 resulted in PIL rulings that “sought to balance the child’s economic needs against his or her fundamental rights”; they did not ban child labor outright. While some critics argue that the judiciary has not gone far enough to eradicate child labor, the Court asserts that its responsibilities are not legislative: it will not make laws or change existing laws.
According to the passage, which of the following policy should be observed for the bonded working children?
1) Learn & Earn
2) Work & Education
3) Development & Future
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