The cabinet has recently approved amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986. The Act prohibits the engagement of children in certain types of occupations and regulates the condition of work of children in other occupations.
The Act prohibits employment of children below 14 years in certain occupations such as automobile workshops, bidi-making, carpet weaving, handloom and power loom industry, mines and domestic work. It prohibits employment of a child in 18 occupations and 65 processes and regulates the conditions of working of children in other occupations and processes including domestic work, automobile workshops, bidi-making, carpet weaving, handloom and power loom industries and mines.
New amendments proposed:
In light of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education it seeks to prohibit employment of children below 14 years in all occupations except where the child helps his family after school hours and as artists in audio-visual entertainment industry after school or during vacations. Provided the work should not interfere in the education of child. The changes are proposed after keeping in mind the socio economic conditions of the country.
It adds a new category of persons called “adolescent”. An adolescent means a person between 14 and 18 years of age. The Bill prohibits employment of adolescents in hazardous occupations as specified (mines, inflammable substance and hazardous processes).
Penalties are also raised. The proposed changes raised the penalty for employing any child or adolescent in contravention of the Act to Rs 50,000 from Rs 20,000 and imprisonment for six months to two years, up from three months to a year.
The bill will now be presented in the Rajya Sabha during the monsoon session.
Though the steps are indeed very good for children and also it will confirm with international Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions 138 and 182, which prohibits employment of persons below 18 years, in work which is likely to harm health, safety and morals. Some more steps should be taken into consideration like instituting preventive measures of child labour. And implementing the RTE act in letter and spirit.
It has been noticed that people from low income group send their children to school when they find more incentives in education. These incentives can be in terms of skills.