National Commission for Protection of Child Rights
India's middle class must refuse to be
waited on by child servants and find a sense of "moral indignation" over child labour, the
head of the government's new child rights body said . Until then, almost every aspect of Indian society will continue to depend on the
exploitation of child labour, Shantha Sinha, chairwoman of the National
Commission for Protection of Child Rights, told reporters at its first press conference.
"We should recognise that every aspect of our lives is integral to a child's
exploitation," she said at the commission's office in New Delhi, capital of the
country which has the world's largest number of child labourers. "We couldn't be sitting in this room if a child did not work in making the
bricks. We couldn't now have a tea party after the meeting if a child did not
work in making the wheat and making the rice and making the vegetables.
"The exploitation and vulnerability and drudgery of the child is so integral to our well-being."
There are more than 12 million children under the age of 14 working in India
according to the last census, supplying cheap, pliant -- and illegal -- labour
in restaurants, fields, factories and private homes. But middle class people
employ more of India's child labourers than any other group, often as
servants in their homes, said Sinha. They are deluding themselves into
thinking they are doing good by giving jobs to children from destitute backgrounds.
"They really think giving leftover food, second-hand clothes and allowing
them to see the TV, that you're taking care of children, but there is a double
standard because you don't take care of your own children like that," she
said. One of the child rights commission's first missions will be to try and
create a sense of moral outrage over child labour which it says is widely
lacking in India. "Don't attend functions when you see children are working there -- raise your
voice, don't feel shy saying: 'It's wrong for a child to be working,'" she said.
"I think we need to have the courage of convictions to say, 'No'." Source: Yahoo! India News