The Child Labour Bill which has been amended after 30 years does not protect children from the menace of child labour. The new Act is based on the premise that education and work for children can go hand in hand. In India 33 million children in the age group of 0 – 18 are child labourers. (Census 2011)
Family occupation: 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 temporarily for extended periods of work. The current status of education is grim in our country with only 33 children out of 100 completing class 12th.
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.
Hazardous occupations: 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. Ministry has not taken efforts to identify hazardous occupations and has taken the current list from the Factories act. Aligning the CLPRA bill with labour legislations rather than social legislations will dilute the spirit of the Act and adversely impact children.
Persecutions and violation: 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.
Note: Image used in this post is only for representational purpose.