Migrant Child Workers: Main Characteristics - 3.pdf Migrant Child Workers: Main Characteristics

Download Migrant Child Workers: Main Characteristics - 3.pdf Migrant Child Workers: Main Characteristics

Post on 05-Jun-2018

212 views

Category:

Documents

0 download

TRANSCRIPT

  • 51

    Chapter III

    Migrant Child Workers: Main Characteristics

    The chapter deals with the various socio, educational, locations, work related

    and other characteristics of the migrant child workers in order to understand the

    problems and prevalence of child labour. The perusal of data pertaining to migrant

    child workers presents very peculiar features. It has been noticed that they got

    deeply and widely involved in the various economic activities in the urban setting.

    The urban labour market for child workers has been deeply integrated with the rural

    areas of the country. The persons in the situation of general economic distress

    moves to the urban and other centers which provide the livelihood in the complete

    informal way but even such type of work becomes attractive in the particular setting

    of extremely low level of economic engagement back at home with the migrants. The

    availability of even informal work for the first round of migrants in the ultimate way

    generates the long chain of migrants and the continuous flow of migration. Keeping

    this in view, the chapter is divided into five main sections. The section first deals with

    the place of birth, gender and age profile of the migrant child workers. The section

    second deals with the social and religion wise distribution of the sampled migrant

    child workers. The section third is concerned with the family sizes and number of

    migrant child workers. The section fourth provides the information related to the

    place of stay and years of working of the migrant child workers. The last section

    provides the information related to the education of not only of the migrant child

    workers and but also of their parents both father and mother.

    3. I Place of Birth and Age

    The place of birth exercises substantial control over the attainment of various

    things in life. Every place provides its own set of opportunities to the individuals.

    There are substantial gaps in the facilities available in the rural and urban areas.

    More over, the facilities available in the corresponding rural and urban areas vary

    across the various states of the country. A child born in a region endowed with better

    infrastructure and facilities has been supposed to progress more in life as compared

  • 52

    to the disadvantageous regions. The differentials in regional development over the

    period results into the perpetuation of various types of inequalities in the societies.

    More over, the differentials in socio-economic setting not only generate the

    inequalities but reproduce the new set of inequalities over the period. From the data

    presented in Table 3.1, it is clear that the place of birth of substantially large majority

    of migrant child workers falls in the rural areas. Out of 300 migrant child workers, as

    many as 237(79 per cent) were born in the villages of their respective states. The

    proportion of the migrant child workers born in the cities was just 21 per cent. It

    means the bulk of the supply of migrant child workers in the city of Chandigarh owes

    its existence to the rural areas of the country. It also indicates the dearth of

    employment opportunities and existence of livelihood problems in the rural economy.

    The push factors of the rural areas and pull factors of the urban areas are playing in

    such a manner which has been not only giving birth to the child labour but are also

    exacerbating the phenomenon of child labour.

    Table 3.1: Distribution of Migrant Child Workers According to their Place of Birth Place of Birth Number Per Cent

    Village 237 79.00

    City 63 21.00

    Total 300 100.00

    Source: Primary Survey

    Table 3.2 shows that the children from large many states have been joining

    the work force in the city. The number of child labour supplying states turned out to

    be eleven. It implies that the city of Chandigarh, being prosperous and growing, has

    been acting as some sort of the nodal centre for the movement of labour in

    numerous forms not only for the neighboring but also from other states situated at a

    considerable distance. More over, the city has been emerging as the nodal point of

    the service oriented economic activities both in the formal and informal sectors. The

    construction sector in its modern form is in full swing in the city and near by towns

    and other places in the form of mushrooming of various colonies and apartments.

    The persons who had benefitted tremendously from the economic reforms have

  • 53

    settled in the city in a big way because the city being the hub of modern life style.

    The rich sections of society need large number of services at their door steps which

    generate the demand for labour. The rise in income beyond a particular level

    generates higher level of demand for the services.

    Table 3.2: Distribution of Migrant Child Workers According to their Native State Name of State Number Per Cent

    1.Uttar Pradesh 171 57.00 2.Bihar 36 12.00 3.Orissa 3 1.00 4.J & K 3 1.00 5.Jharkhand 18 6.00 6.Haryana 27 9.00 7.Gujarat 3 1.00 8.Rajasthan 21 7.00 9.HP 12 4.00 10.MP 3 1.00 11.Punjab 3 1.00 Total 300 100.00

    Source: Primary Survey

    The state of Uttar Pradesh constitutes the single largest category by having

    as much as 57 per cent (171 children) share in the total number of the cases of

    migrant child workers studied. It was followed by Bihar (12 per cent); Haryana (9 per

    cent); Rajasthan (7 per cent); Jharkhand (6 per cent); HP (4 per cent); and Gujarat,

    Orissa, J & K, Punjab, MP (1 per cent each). It means the bulk of the supply comes

    from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The collective share of these two states was around

    69 per cent. It is important to state that the city of Chandigarh in fact lies in the green

    revolution area which has been attracting all sort of labour from the rest of the

    country for its emerging farm, non-farm and other associated sectors. It is to be

    noted that the state of Punjab attracts the huge amount of labour for its economic

    activities not only in the rural areas but also in the urban areas. The informal sector

    in the state in urban areas of the state depends considerably on the migrant labour.

    The migration in the state from the economically backward states started with the

    maturing of the green revolution during the 1970s. The rapid urbanization generates

  • 54

    the demand for labour in a significant way and consequently the migrant population

    filled the slot in a quick manner. All the urban centers both in Haryana and Punjab

    now contain large number of migrant workers. Thus, the city of Chandigarh being the

    most developed centre situated in these states too experienced the large quantity of

    migrant workers not only in the adult category but also in the form of child labour in

    numerous forms and modes.

    Table 3.3: Distribution of Migrant Child Workers according to the Age Age (years) Number Per Cent

    6-8 years 60 20.00

    9-11 years 96 32.00

    12-14 years 144 48.00

    Total 300 100.00

    Source: Primary Survey

    The age wise distribution (Table 3.3) of migrant child workers shows that the

    largest of them fall in the age bracket of 12-14 years. The share of this age group

    was 48 per cent, i.e. 144 child workers. The next age group with large share was

    that of between 9-11 years. Its share was 32 per cent with 96 number of migrant

    child workers. The share of 6-8 years old was 20 per cent, 60 number of migrant

    child workers. It means the children between 12 and 14 years of the age group was

    more prone to fall in the child labour supply. At this age they may be more suitable to

    handle the various works as against the younger age group consisting of between 6

    and 8 years. Further, the children when reach higher age group also acquire some

    experience as they start working at a very tender age. More over, children in the age

    group between 12 and 14 years become relatively more mature to handle the more

    types of works and business and trade oriented activities than that of very lower age

    group. The more proportion of this age group ultimately results in the entry of this

    age-cohort workers as adult labourers in the national labour force after few years.

    So, the process of transition of child labourers into adult labourers goes on in the

    system in its own way. The adult labourers of today may be the child workers of

    yester years. This is the natural phenomenon associated with child labour in the

  • 55

    situation of lack of institutional interventions to break up the vicious cycle of poverty,

    child labour, illiteracy, malnourishment, etc.

    Table 3.4: Distribution of Migrant Child Workers according to Sex Sex Number Per Cent

    Male 213 71.00

    Female 87 29.00

    Total 300 100.00

    Source: Primary Survey

    Further, out of the total studied migrant child workers (Table 3.4), as many as

    213 (71 per cent) were males. The mail child workers were joining more of economic

    activities outside the household as compared to their female counterparts. The mail

    child workers could work during the odd hours and also take up more difficult

    activities and can stay away from families with little odds as compared to the female

    counter parts. The number of the female migrant child workers was found to be 87

    (i.e. 29 per cent). This implies that the female children may be handling more of the

    household chores as compared to their male counter parts. Moreover, the female

    child workers, apart from direct household activities, has also been assigned the

    task of taking care of their younger siblings as the number of children in the poor

    families also is on the higher side. More over, when there emerged the livelihood

    constraint the families prefer to send their male children to far off places as girls are

    considered to be more unsafe and their movement is permitted by families only

    through trusted and close family networks.

    3.2 Socio-Religious Profile

    The religion-wise distribution (Table 3.5) of the migrant child workers shows

    that the majority of them belong to the Hindu religion. The number of migrant child

    workers in this category was 202, i.e. 67.33 per cent. The next largest category was

    that of the Muslims, 73 children (24.33 per cent). The share of the rest of the

    religions was very negligible. The share of migrant child workers belonging to Sikh

  • 56

    religion was just one per cent. And, that of Christian it was two per cent. The

    proportion of migrant child workers belonging to other religions was found to be 5.33

    per cent. This category consists of Buddhists and Parsi. This type of participation in

    child labour again goes well with the concentration of these two religious groups

    (Muslim and Hindu) in the under developed regions of the country in which general

    level of distress is disproportionately very high and wide spread.

    Table 3.5: Distribution of Migrant Child Workers according to Religion Religion Number Per Cent

    1. Hindu 202 67.33 2. Muslim 73 24.33 3. Sikh 3 1.00 4. Christian 6 2.00 5. Others* 16 5.33 Total 300 100.00

    Note: * Consist of Buddhists, Parsi. Source: Primary Survey

    The distribution of migrant child workers according to the social category

    (Table 3.6) provides very interesting details. The share of the migrant child workers

    who belongs to the General Category of the population was 60, which constitutes 20

    per cent of the total studied cases. The largest majority belongs to the Backward

    Classes, viz. 114 child workers (38 per cent). The next largest group was that of the

    Other Backward Classes (OBC) which constitutes 22 per cent share followed by the

    Scheduled Castes (13 per cent). The STs as a group forms 5 per cent. It emerged

    that the child workers has direct relationship with the social and economic status of

    the various sections of the population. The overall social and economic

    backwardness of the sections of the population which belong to the scheduled

    castes and backward classes has been reflected also in their necessity to send

    children into various forms of labour in order to supplement the family income so as

    to sustain their livelihood. The state policy of extending some benefits to notified

    sections would be of little help when the migration process is very fast and usually

    the migrants are not recorded in any worthwhile manner. The vulnerability of the

  • 57

    families to various types of income shocks in the situation of lack of viable income

    from the economic acts of the adult members of the family has generated a vicious

    cycle in which poor households view their children as income earners rather than as

    consumption as is the case with rich households because they spend so much on

    the upbringing of their children. In case of poor household the present income is

    more preferred over the future income. In the situation of extreme distress the

    specific economic culture takes over the accepted norms and child labour too

    becomes a way of life which gets entrenched over the years.

    Table 3.6: Distribution of Migrant Child Workers according to Social Category Category Number Per Cent

    1. General Category 60 20.00 2. Scheduled Castes 39 13.00 3. Backward Classes 114 38.00 4. OBC 66 22.00 5. ST

    15 5.00 6. Others 6 2.00 Total 300 100.00

    Source: Primary Survey 3.3 Family Sizes and Child Workers

    The size as well as the age composition of the families has strong relationship

    with the socio-economic status of the families. The rise in the economic status of the

    families resulted in the decline of the family sizes. It has happened across the social,

    economic and cultural settings all over the world. The pace and pattern of

    development directly affects the family sizes. The analysis of family sizes of the

    households which supply child labour proves it very amply. More over, even from the

    family sizes one can have fairly accurate idea about the familys economic and other

    status. The number of persons in the families of majority (62 per cent) of migrant

    child workers range between four and six (Table 3.7). The number varied between

    one and three in case of 29 per cent of migrant child workers. But in case of 27

    cases (9 per cent), the number of family members was seven and above. It means

  • 58

    the family sizes of the migrant child workers are considerably on the higher side.

    This also indicate that these households are at that stage of population transition

    where the birth rates remained higher because they have not been impacted by the

    modern development in any worth while manner. This too indicates the higher level

    of population growth in regions which supply the child labour to the various urban

    centers in the country. Viewed in larger and national context, it throws much light on

    the interstate differences in the population growth as different states have been

    placed at different stages of population growth.

    Table 3.7: Size of Family of Migrant Child Workers Number of Persons Numbers Percent 1 - 3 family members 87 29.00 4 - 6 family members 186 62.00 7 & above family members 27 9.00 Total 300 100.00

    Source: Primary Survey

    Another important feature of the surveyed respondents is related with the

    number of migrant child workers in their families. From the perspective of

    households a child labour can take many forms. The child may be working in the

    vicinity of the household and be living in the household before and after work. The

    child leaves the household and moves to far flung places and joined the labour force

    as the migrant child worker. The perusal of the data shows that in as many as 54 per

    cent of the families (Table 3.8) of the migrant child workers the number of migrant

    children per family was found to be one. The number of migrant child workers was

    more than one per family in case of 24 per cent migrant child workers. However, all

    children were found to be working in case of 22 per cent of families. It implies that

    large number of families from where come the migrant child workers depends

    exclusively on the child income in order to sustain the livelihood. The more

    proportion of younger population in the families in normal situation when child labour

    is not permitted means more proportion of consumption. But, when children have

    been used as income earners they partly or fully finance their day to day

  • 59

    consumption and families find it as easy option to get it moving in the situation of

    despair and hopelessness.

    Table 3.8: Number of Child Workers in the Family of Migrant Child Workers

    Number of Child workers Number Percent

    Only One MCW 162 54.00

    More than One MCW 72 24.00

    All Children are Working 66 22.00

    Total 300 100.00 Source: Primary Survey 3.4 Residence/Stay and Years of Working

    The population which faces the problem of proper residences or shelter is

    very serious in the country. This problem becomes extremely serious in case of the

    urban areas where the cost of land is very exorbitant. The migration of the large

    number of population from rural to urban areas has been resulting in urban slums in

    almost all of the towns and cities in the country. The proportion of slum population in

    some of the cities is extremely very large. The working population in the cities has

    been settling in the locations which are devoid of from all the amenities and services

    and are not fit for human living. From the Table 3.9 it clearly emerged that the

    majority of the migrant child workers stayed at the place which does not belong to

    their families or they can not claim them to be their own in any worth while sense of

    the term. For example, 44 per cent stayed at the rented accommodation and 29 per

    cent in some form of the tent houses. Those who stayed at the place of work their

    number is four per cent. And, those who share house with the relative their number

    were 15, i.e. 5 per cent. And, those who share house with the friend their proportion

    were 2 per cent. Just 16 per cent have some sort of own or family accommodation.

    Thus, it emerged that even the children has not only to work but has also to pay for

    the stay, which essentially is night shelter, in the form of rent. The migrant child

    workers have to suffer all the problems which are associated with staying with the

    strangers outside their parents. This affects considerably the behavioral patterns and

  • 60

    results in large number of emotional problems because the cases of child abuse are

    fairly common in such type of social settings.

    Table 3.9: Residence/Place of Stay of Migrant Child Worker

    Residence Number Percent 1. Workplace 12 04.00 2. Own Family House 48 16.00 3. Shared House with Relative 15 05.00 4. Shared House with Friend 06 02.00 5. Rented House 132 44.00 6. Tent House / Jhuggi 87 29.00 Total 300 100.00 Source: Primary Survey

    The migrant child workers have been found to be working in the city for a

    considerable period of time which is quite visible from the Table 3.10. The age of

    migrant child worker for the purpose of analysis has been taken as between six

    years and fourteen years. Out of surveyed 300 such cases of migrant child workers,

    as many as 89 (29.67 per cent) has been working as child laboureres from the last

    one year. And, those who were found to be working between five years and six

    years there number was 32, i.e. 10.67 per cent. The number of the rest of the

    categories was as follows: between four years and five years (15 per cent); between

    three years and four years (7 per cent); between two years and three years (25 per

    cent); between one year and two years (12.67per cent). It implies the some sort of

    deepening of the problem of migrant child workers and prevalence of child labour

    continuity. There has been the continuity of the work oriented supply of children in

    the city as 29.67 per cent of the surveyed children joined the labour force in the city

    during the last year. More over, data perusal also shows that the children have been

    joining the labour force consistently as they have been working for all the years of

    reported durations. The child labour is quite visible in the city in some of the

    occupations which involves working on self employment basis. Importantly, the last

    couple of years have seen enhanced efforts and policy pronouncements for removal

    of child labour through legislative measures and more efforts on compulsory

    schooling and initiation of more poverty removal schemes and employment

  • 61

    generation schemes but all these had not made the desired impact on the reduction

    of child labour.

    Table 3.10: Number of Years of Working by the Migrant Child Worker in the City categories Number Percentage Less than one year 89 29.67 1-2 years 38 12.67 2-3 years 75 25.00 3-4 years 21 7.00 4-5 years 45 15.00 5-6 years 32 10.67 Total 300 100.00

    Source: Primary Survey 3.5 Educational Attainments

    Education is being treated as the most critical factor in the well being of any

    individual, society, and community. It is the master key for availing of the higher

    levels of benefits from the material and other progress of the society which comes

    from the economic growth and technological progress. More over, education has

    been recognized as the key component in the human capital and that of human

    resource development in any society. Further, the well recognized demographic

    dividend depends upon the quality and quantity of education and training received

    by the different sections and different age groups of the society. The country has

    already extremely low level of mean years of schoolings and other education related

    indices. But, the data on the educational attainments of the migrant child workers (as

    given in Table 3.11) shows an extremely dismal situation. It is clear that the migrant

    child workers are essentially a group of illiterates and less educated persons. Out of

    the total surveyed, as many as 183 (61 per cent) were totally illiterate. The number

    of primary pass out was 84 (28 per cent). The number of those educated above

    primary but less than middle was 33, i.e. 11 per cent.

    Thus, the child work as an economic category thrives on the basis of the

    illiteracy of the persons involved as putting of children into schools would lead to

    their withdrawal from the active workforce and immediate loss of income to the

    family. This proves the fact that child labour and schooling are strongly related to

  • 62

    each other and are also treated as close counter parts. It is normally expected that a

    child would be either in the school for the purpose of study or in the labour force for

    the purpose of earning. The number of those who are neither in the schools nor in

    the work force are not that large and the matter of affordability come directly into the

    picture. Hence, the case of depriving off the eligible age children from the

    educational benefits is clearly their in the country.

    Table 3.11: Education Level of Migrant Child Workers before Migration Education Number Per Cent

    Illiterate 183 61.00

    Primary 84 28.00

    Above Primary But Below Middle 33 11.00 Total

    300 100.00 Source: Primary Survey

    The level of education of the parents is considered very important in the well

    being of their children. The country already has been facing the serious problem of

    first generation learners. In case of migrant child workers, it was found that they

    essentially belonged to the houses with negligible or very low level of education.

    They are no where near to what is called human capital. This becomes clear from

    the perusal of data in Tables 3.12 and 3.13. So far the education of fathers of

    migrant child workers is concerned, 255 (85 per cent) were completely illiterate. The

    primary pass outs comprise 24(8 per cent) in total. The middle pass-out was 3 in

    number. The persons with the matric degree were 12, i.e. 4 per cent. The situation

    of the mothers was still worse. As many as 291 (97 per cent) were illiterate. The

    number of primary, middle and matric were three each. Thus, there is no scope for in

    house process of learning as on the one side the parents are poor and on the other

    they are by and large not living with the migrant children.

    So, there exist strong relationship between the education level of parents and

    that of their wards. It has been happening there in the situation of lack of

    effectiveness of the public education system which is the only affordable system of

    education particularly in case of large majority of poor households in the country.

  • 63

    Otherwise, the houses which can afford have been sending their wards to privately

    operated schools which are now operating in large scale. The houses which supply

    child labour and that too in the form of migratory labour lack almost complete access

    to the education system what so ever have been created there in their vicinity. Thus,

    the problem of education of migrant child workers is very serious and big challenge

    for the policy planners as the children move from place to place in search of

    employment and are not living with their parents and if they happen to be living with

    their parents they being illiterate are not in a position to contribute in any meaningful

    to the educational development of their children. The contribution of home in the

    educational build up of the children is very crucial but is missing in the case of poor

    households. A vicious cycle consisting of poor households without any education

    base and large family sizes has got deepened over the generations with further

    dependence on child labour for livelihood and income earning on daily basis.

    Table 3.12: Fathers Level of Education of Migrant Child Workers Education Number Per Cent

    Illiterate 255 85.00

    Primary 24 08.00

    Middle 3 01.00

    Matric 12 04.00

    Diploma 3 01.00

    Graduate 3 01.00

    Total 300 100.00

    Source: Primary Survey Table 3.13: Mothers Level of Education of Migrant Child Workers Education Number Per Cent

    Illiterate 291 97.00

    Primary 3 1.00

    Middle 3 1.00

    Matric 3 1.00

    Total 300 100.00

    Source: Primary Survey

  • 64

    To sum up, it is clear that the place of birth of substantially large majority of

    migrant child workers falls in the rural areas of the country. The proportion of the

    migrant child workers born in the cities was comparatively on lower side. But, it is

    worth mentionable that the urban areas in the country now contain very large

    proportion of the population which lives below the poverty line. The concentration of

    poverty in urban areas has been posing its own sort of challenge to the very process

    of economic growth. The prevalence of the children working as laboureres in the city

    who are born in the rural areas of the far flung states indicates the linkages of the

    labour market for the supply and demand of children as workers. This has emerged

    as the harsh reality of the economy witnessing a very fast and high growth during

    the last about two decades or so. The children from large many states have joined

    the work force in the city. The state of Uttar Pradesh constitutes the single largest

    category followed by Bihar, Haryana, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, HP, Gujarat, Orissa, J

    & K, Punjab, and M.P. The largest majority of migrant child workers fall in the age

    bracket of 12-14 years. Further, out of the total studied migrant child workers as

    many as 71 per cent were males and belong to the Hindu religion. The next largest

    category was that of the Muslims. The largest majority belongs to the Backward

    Classes. The next largest group was that of the Other Backward Classes (OBC),

    followed by the Scheduled Castes and STs.

    The number of persons in the families of the majority of migrant child workers

    range between four and six. The number varied between one and three in case of 29

    per cent of the migrant child workers. The population which faces the problem of

    proper residences or shelter is very serious in the country. This problem becomes

    extremely serious in case of the urban areas. The natural concomitant of the

    existence and continuation of the child labour in urban areas is the formation of

    slums with all the accompanied problems. It clearly emerged that the majority of the

    migrant child workers stayed at the place which does not belong to their families or

    they can not claim them to be their. The children have not only to work but have also

    to pay for the stay, which essentially is night shelter, in the form of rent. The

    involvement of the children in labour and living in impersonal social environment

    seriously affects the psychological, social and cultural well being of the child.

  • 65

    The educational attainments of the migrant child workers show an extremely

    dismal situation. It is clear that the migrant child workers are essentially a group of

    illiterates and less educated persons. Out of the total surveyed, as many as 61 per

    cent were found to be totally illiterate. The number of primary pass out was just 28

    per cent. The number of those educated above primary but less than middle was

    very low. Thus the first hypothesis of the study which states that the urban informal

    sector migrant child workers are essentially a group of illiterates stands true. The

    level of education of the parents is considered very important in the well being of

    their children. The country already has been facing the serious problem of first

    generation learners. In case of migrant child workers, it was found that they

    essentially belonged to the houses with negligible or very low level of education.

    Further, one can have fairly good idea about the quality of education received by the

    migrant child workers as learning levels were found to abysmally low across the

    country. Thus, a specific type of vicious cycle consisting of abject poverty, illiteracy,

    low and unstable incomes and dearth of worthwhile employment opportunities in the

    native places of the migrant child workers has intensified which could be made to

    change only with strong state intervention by proper and effective targeting of the

    children involved in the labour market. The leaving the question of removal of such

    types of problems solely to the market and high economic growth will in fact

    exacerbate it instead of solving it. The state has to create the necessary intervention

    and response mechanisms to solve the problem of child labour as it is not only the

    constitutional and statutory mandate but also a human duty to give proper

    environment to every child for the realization of ones true potential and worth.