The Parliament of India has passed amendments to the Child Labour Act which are designed to attack child rights and also to legalize the use of children above 14 years of age in industries hitherto considered hazardous. Passed in the Upper House earlier, it was passed by the Lok Sabha on 26th July 2016. Such a Bill had earlier been designed by the erstwhile UPA Govt. but it had lapsed.
The new amendments deregulate the employment of children under 14 years of age. This is done by stating that children below 14 years can only be employed in ‘family enterprises’ in ‘home based work’ and in forest gathering and in family fields after school hours. The earlier Act prescribed hours of work, time off for school and had other stipulations. Children between the ages of 14 to 18 years will now be termed adolescents and such adolescents can be employed in professions other than hazardous professions. This is while bringing down the list of such hazardous industries from 83 to just 3 (Mines, inflammable substances and hazardous processes). Children (meaning below 14 years) can be made to work in family grocery stores, enterprises and shops after school hours – all this camouflages the real purpose of the Bill, which is deregulating the employment of child labour as it does not specify what is implied by ‘family’.… Read More