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Ending child labour by 2025 farcical

  1. Global leaders will this month pledge to end by 2025, as part of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to improve the lives of the poorest.
  2. India has introduced laws to protect children and ensure their schooling, as well as a range of social welfare schemes.
  3. Census data shows there were 4.35 million labourers aged between five and 14 in 2011 against 12.66 million a decade ago.
  4. International Labour Organization (ILO) report puts the number of child workers in India aged between 5-17 at 5.7 million, out of 168 million globally.
  5. More than half are in agriculture, toiling in cotton, sugarcane and rice paddy fields where they are often exposed to pesticides and risk injury from sharp tools and heavy equipment.
  6. Children who help their family or family businesses can work outside school hours, and those in entertainment or sports can work provided it does not affect their education.
  7. The government said the exceptions are aimed at striking a balance between education and India’s socio-economic reality.
  8. Allowing children to help parents in family work also provides skills development for the child and succour for the child as well as the poor parents.

Child labour increased by 53% in urban India: CRY Report

  1. Analysis by Child Rights and You (CRY) – There has been a significant increase in working children in the age group of 5-9 years.
  2. In urban areas while the number of working girls rose by 240%, it increased by 154% for working boys.
  3. But why? Attributed to increased migration – seasonal migration for employment as well as trafficking of unaccompanied minors.

Child Labour in the garment sector – 70% girls

“It is perturbing and shameful that children’s engagement in informal labour, including in the garment industry, which has also contributed to the rising rate of school drop-outs, continues to be a sad reality in the national capital.”

Over 8000 children are employed in the garments industry in the National Capital alone, and 70% of them are girls.

[cd explains] Catchup on the Child Labour Law ammendments

 

[op-ed snap] Right to have a childhood

  1. Case in point – Cabinet’s approval of a set of amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
  2. One of the amendments proposes to ban the employment of children < 14 years in all occupations except family enterprises.
  3. This is in contradiction with Article 21-A & the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.
  4. The law potentially opens loopholes that will sustain or even encourage child labour, creating a regulatory nightmare.
  5. ‘Family enterprises’ fall in the unorganised sector.
  6. May adversely affect girl children who are often forced into domestic work.

Cabinet clears changes to Child Labour Act

  1. Children below the age of 14 allowed to work in select ‘non-hazardous’ family enterprises.
  2. The prohibition on child labour would not apply if they were helping the family in fields, forests and home-based work after school hours or during vacations.
  3. Child right activists, however, have opposed the move, saying the proposal could be used to deny education to the girl child.
  4. Family businesses have been given a wide definition and cover any job, profession, or business performed primarily by family members.
HT

Contradictions in law – Who is a child?

  1. Different Acts continue to define “child” differently.
  2. While the RTE Act 2009 & CLPRA 2012 define a child as 14-year-old, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 considers this to be 18 years.
  3. CPLRA = Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act.

New Bill for total ban on child labour

  1. Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment (CLPRA) Bill is pending since December 2012.
  2. The proposed amendments to the Act will for the first time ban employment of children below 14 years in any occupation.
  3. This will bring the law in consistency with the Right to Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009.
  4. The 1986 law prohibits employing children only in certain occupations such as mines, work in hazardous process and with inflammable substances or explosives.


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