Child Labor in India and Indian Companies: Is There a Case for Extended Responsibility?
Mitali Roy (Mitali) and Manika Arora (Manika) did their MBA (with a specialization in HRM) from a prestigious management school in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. After the completion of their course, both took up jobs as HR Managers with different companies. Manika joined a software firm in Hyderabad and Mitali joined a reputed branded apparel firm in Bangalore, as HR Manager.
After 2 years, while on a business trip to Hyderabad Mitali met Manika and over a cup of coffee both of them were catching up as well as sharing their experiences at their current jobs. As they were talking, a boy of around 13 years of age came to their table, cleaned it and served their order. Manika was quick to notice the change in Mitali, as she seemed disturbed and asked the reason.
Mitali: Seeing this young boy serving here, brought back to my mind the plight of the young children I happen to see during my visits to the factories of our suppliers. I do not understand why people do not comply with the laws. Do you recollect the heated debates that we had during our HR specialization course, “Industrial Jurisprudence and Labor Law Applications”?
Manika: Yes, I do recollect those heated and animated discussions. But, young children working in cafes, restaurants, small shops, etc., is a common sight in India. Moreover, are they not earning a living for themselves and their families? Why is it bothering you so much?
Mitali: It is worrisome that despite so many laws prohibiting the use of child labor and provisions to provide education and development, child labor is rampant in the country/across industries. This deprives them of their basic rights like education, freedom, play and thereby their right to a healthy and prosperous future. Who will stop this? When will it end? Will it end, at all?
Manika: Is child labor prevalent in the industry you work?