Q. Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu is known for its manufacturing dusters on firecrackers and matches. The local economy of the area is largely dependent on firecrackers industry. It has led to tangible economic development and improved standard of living in the area. So for as child labour norms for hazardous industries like firecrackers industry are concerned, International Labour Organization (ILO) has set the minimum age as 18 years. In India, however, this age is 14 years.The units in industrial dusters of firecrackers can be classified into registered and non-registered entities. One typical unit is household-based work. Though the law is dear on the use of child labour employment norms in registered/non-registered units, it does not include household-based works. Household-based work means children working under the supervision of their parents/relatives. To evade child labour norms, several units project themselves as household-based works but employ children from outside. Needless to say that employing children saves the costs for these units leading to higher profits to the owners.
On your visit to one of the units at Sivakasi, the owner takes you around the unit I which has about 10-15 children below 14 years of age. The owner tells you that in his household-based unit, the children are all his relatives. You notice that several children smirk, when the owner tells you this. On deeper enquiry, you figure out that neither the owner nor the children are able to satisfactorily establish their relationship with each other.
- Bring out and discuss the ethical issues involved in the above case.
- What would be your reaction alter your above visit? (300 words) [ CSE 2013 ]
Model Answer Outline : The major ethical issues involved in the given case are
- Respect for children’s needs and basic rights
- Respecting and protecting the environment from being polluted
- Livelihood issues of both the owner and the worker
* your should elaborate these issues
My reaction after my visit.
As my authority position is not clearly stated in the question I could assume two positions
- A common man
- A government official having some authority.
As a common man I should raise the issues in media so that awareness and suitable attitudes towards child right and environment could be developed. I should also write to the concerned authority to take suitable action as per existing law .
If I am the concerned authority, I will give strict warning to the owner of such units to immediately stop violating laws and register the unit properly. If the owner defies the law I will take suitable action. I will also communicate with the welfare department to see the education and rehabilitation issues of the children.