Nobel laureate, Kailash Satyarthi has put up an arithmetic of child labour. If we employ a child, it means we are denying an adult his right to work. It is as simple as that.
Moreover, a child can get midday meal if he happens to go to a school instead of discharging his duty as a child labourer. But if an adult remains unemployed, he will not get anything.
Some market players prefer child labour because it is cheap. But even they will be benefited if they pay heed to Kailash Satyarthi. If the market players stop hiring say one million children then it will create one million job opportunities. And when employable persons get the job, they will obviously earn more than those children. As a result, it will increase the purchasing power of the masses and therefore boost the market.
As most of those “unemployed” children have to go back to school to fend for their midday meal, they will be better educated, better skilled to earn more in future than if they would have to work as child labourers and surrender their right to education and right to midday meal. So, it will help the market players to get more skilled labour in future.
Sujit De, Kolkata
An arithmetic of child labour