New law to curb child labour
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016 was passed by parliament to consolidate India's child labour laws. Under this law, India will be able to ratify the two ILO conventions, 138 and 182. The new law also prohibits employment of children under the age of 14. However, children under 14 years can work in family enterprise without affecting their education.
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986
According to the International Labour Organization, child labour is defined as work that deprives children of their childhood and is harmful to mental and physical development. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986 prohibits employment of children who are under 14-years of age in government listed hazardous occupations. There is no ban on employment of children between ages 14-18 years.
International agreements go unnoticed
According to the ILO, the laws and agreements that have been imposed for child labour go unnoticed in India with alarming frequency. UNICEF estimates that over 28 million underage children are put to work in India.
ILO conventions no 138 and 183
ILO convention 138 aims to abolish child labour. Whereas convention 183 provides 14 weeks of maternity benefits to women. In this convention, they are also entitled for cash benefits to help their and the child's health conditions.
Tougher fines, but UNICEF raises concerns
Under the new law, the penalty for employing children under 14 years of age has been increased to Rs.50,000 from Rs.20,000 and the jail term has been doubled to two years. Children between ages 15 and 18 are allowed to work except in hazardous industries. However, the United Nations' agency for children, UNICEF has raised concerns over the new law passed.