Parliament's Lok Sabha passes Child Labour Bill
The Indian Parliament's lower house passed the Child Labour Amendment Bill today, despite facing flak from opposition over its proposed amendments. The Bill now prohibits labour across all sectors in India, for those aged below 14. It previously barred engaging those below 14 only in about 83 hazardous forms of employment. The amended bill also enforces austere actions against those breaking this law.
The Child Labour Act, 1986
The Child Labour (Prevention and Regulation) Act, 1986, restricts employment of children under the age of 14 in hazardous occupations. These hazardous occupations are listed by law.
Child rights activists flag low conviction rates for offenders
"While the Government has increased the punishment and penalty for violators, recent data shows that the rates of prosecution and conviction are shockingly poor," said child right activist NGO Child Rights and You (CRY).
Amendments to the Child Labour bill
The changes will prohibit employment for those between 15 and 18 across hazardous sectors, while those aged under 14 will not be permitted to work across any sector. This law will enable children to work in family-owned businesses, outside of their time spent in school and also during their holidays. Those violating the law will face two years in jail, and penalties of Rs.50,000.
Ministry's take on the exception granted to family enterprises
"The purpose of this very act is that we should be able to practically implement it, that's why we are giving some exemptions."- Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya
Opposition to the amendment
Critics raised concerns about amendments allowing children to work for family enterprises. MPs raised objections to the definition of family which includes parents' siblings along with parents. 83 hazardous occupations stated in the previous bill were reduced to three. According to the critics, this coupled with the family enterprise clause can cause children to work in carpet, zari, beedi etc. units as domestic help.