ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Child Labour in Aligarh Lock Industry

A survey of child labourers in the lock industry of Aligarh reveals that household economic pressures compel children to enter into low-wage, hazardous work environment that proves detrimental to their educational and health prospects.

The issue of child labour is of international concern today. In India, child labour is quite prevelent in almost all the states and regions in a number of sectors. The estimates of magnitude of child labourers in India ranges from 44 to 100 million, with an overwhelming proportion in the rural areas. The child labourers are in constant rise in India which is due to multiplicity of factors like poverty, population growth, displacement of the poor from their lands, social insecurity, faulty educational system, familial problems, adult unemployment, and also preference for children in certain works. The causes are deep-rooted in our social system. The health hazards, are due to multiple social factors including poor economic, housing, educational, hygienic, and working conditions. Our study in Aligarh lock industry is conducted through extensive survey of literature coupled with three-month field work (December 1994 to February 1995). Our study mainly focuses on Muslim child labourers as around 80 per cent of child labourers in the lock industry are Muslims. The children are interviewed by the author depending on the co-operation of both the children and their employers or parents. The break up of samples taken for in-depth interviews from different processes of lock making is as follows – 7 from electroplating, 8 from polishing, 5 from handpressing, 2 from packaging, and 6 from other

process – a total of 28 child labourers.

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