Cruel Reality
YOUNG HANDS AT WORK: CHILD LABOUR IN INDIA by Manju Gupta and Klaus Voll Atma Ram and Sons, 1988, 197 pp., 150
Jan-Feb 1988, volume 12, No 1

The use of child labour has been one of the more unpalatable features in the history of the currently developed coun¬tries. In periods of capital scarcity, children were used to provide unskilled labour. It is only towards the end of the nineteenth century that, the liberal con¬sciousness realized the social and econo¬mic consequences of child labour. The use of child labour, while profitable for the individual firm, does represent serious economic costs to society as a whole. Physical labour in the formative years of an individual leads to poor physical development implying both high medical costs and the increased risk of early mort¬ality. In addition, the potential skills of the child do not get developed. Given this background it is of interest to examine the Indian experiences. Young Hands At Work is one such attempt which puts together a number of papers presented at a seminar on child labour. The articles in this book fall into two broad categories. The first, consisting of descriptive articles is about the nature of child labour in India. The second group deals with legislation and policy objec¬tives to deal with the problem.

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