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THE CHILD LABOUR BILL AMENDMENT, 2016 – A REALITY CHECK

In India 33 million children in the age group of 0 – 18 are child labourers (Census 2011).

Allowing children to work in family enterprises is likely to have far reaching implications on children’s overall development and health. In reality, children who combine school with economic roles often work for long hours after school, or may drop out of school due to extended periods of work.

The current status of education is grim in our country with only 33 children out of 100 completing their higher secondary education (Net Enrollment Rate, DISE – 2014-2015). Government justifies that the children working in the family set up will not be in an “employer-employee” relationship. However, by allowing children to work in family set up opens a window for exploitation which comes along with contracting and sub contracting of work. Currently, there is no mechanism to monitor if the child is working for the family enterprise, within the family set up and/or after school hours.

While the government has assured that list of hazardous occupations and processes for children will be revised, there is no clarity on the basis on which the government will arrive at the new list. The Ministry has not taken efforts to identify hazardous occupations and has taken the current list from the Factories act. Aligning the CLPRA bill (Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act) with labour legislations rather than social legislations will dilute the spirit of the Act and adversely impact children.

While the Government has increased the punishment and penalty for the violators, recent data elicits that the rates of prosecution and conviction are shockingly poor.

Read more on the issue of child labour here

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