Child Labour

9367 Words38 Pages

Rekha Wazir*

The involvement of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in child labour is fairly recent but it is steadily growing in momentum. However, only a few NGOs have succeeded in achieving recognition in this field at the national level. This paper starts by reviewing a number of inter-linked background factors that circumscribe and curtail the activities of NGOs. This is followed by an analysis of the strategies that NGOs use in addressing child labour. The final section addresses the question whether NGO interventions add up to a strategy for eliminating child labour. In order to be effective, NGO strategies would have to stand up to scrutiny on three
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2. Resource Availability

The reluctance of the Indian government to undertake programmes to eradicate all forms of child labour – hazardous and non-hazardous - and provide universal elementary education is attributed in large part to the shortage of resources at the national level. However, Sudarshan (2000) estimates that less than 1 percent extra of GDP is required to universalise elementary education. While this is a substantial amount, and would require some reallocation of resources, it is well within the realm of the possible. The failure to make the necessary commitment can only be attributed to a lack of political will rather than to any real shortage of resources. In this scenario, NGOs become the cheap alternative for assisting government in reaching some of its goals for eliminating child labour and universalising education. While this provides NGOs with a steady source of income, it also constrains their work, as financing for this sector is limited and government grants may be tied to the provision of certain kinds of services such as the delivery of non-formal education to working children, or setting up alternative schools in areas that lack such facilities.

The bulk of non-governmental funding for child labour and education projects is provided by international NGOs. These donor agencies have their own mandates, their own strengths and weaknesses and their own constituencies.

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