India: Amendments in Child Labour Act receives applaud and criticism

Child_LAbour_Amendment_Photo_Credit_Indian_Express

Unanimously agreed on in both the houses, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill has got the President's approval for implementation of the changes. The bill prohibits employment of children below 14 years of age in all occupations. But it allows adolescents (those between 14 and 18 years of age) to work in non-hazardous occupations and processes. They can work in family-run establishments like a grocery store but can’t work in a chemical factory. The government justified the exceptions to strike “a balance between the need for education for a child and reality of the socio-economic condition and social fabric in the country”. The bill is criticized for taking away basic protections for some of the most vulnerable workers. 

 

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Article
1 August 2016

Amendment to child labour bill is regressive, says Kailash Satyarthi

Author: Teena Thacker, Deccan Chronicle

"Sunday Interview: Amendment to child labour bill is regressive", 31 July 2016

Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel laureate and child rights campaigner for over three decades, criticises the newly amended child labour bill that permits children to be confined to work instead of being in school. In an interview...he voices concern about the amendments and how it failed the children of India yet again...This new amendment is regressive. There are major flaws. The definition of family enterprise has blurred a very natural course of engaging children to help parents...I strongly oppose it (the bill) and we are examining it to see what can be done.

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Article
1 August 2016

Child labour bill passed, Unicef voices concern

Author: Sushmi Dey & Himanshi Dhawan, Times News Network

Unicef, along with various other childright activists, has raised concerns about the provision in the Child Labour Amendment Bill, 2016 —passed in Parliament — allowing a child to help out in family enterprises after school hours....The UN agency said the provision will impact children from poorer families and legitimize family work, thus causing further disadvantage to them as there is a lot of outsourced work carried out from home.

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Article
1 August 2016

Up to 2-year jail, fine of Rs 50,000 for child labour

Author: Press Trust of India

Those employing children below 14 years of age for any work, except where a child is helping his family post school hours or during vacation, can get up to two-year imprisonment and maximum fine of Rs 50,000, as per a new law which has got nod from President Pranab Mukherjee....The new legislation bars employment of “adolescent” –a person between 14 and 18 years of age– in hazardous occupations like mines and inflammable substance or explosives...The law, however, is not applicable for a child working in films, advertisement or television industry.

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Article
1 August 2016

Why some factory owners are celebrating India's child labour bill

Author: Sanjoy Majumder, BBC [India]

Under a new, controversial child labour law that has just been passed by the Indian parliament, children younger than 14 are barred from working...But a provision says they may work after school hours and on holidays in the sports or entertainment industry or in family enterprises...It's really good news...saysRajinder, one factory owner...Earlier I could only hire someone aged above 18. Now I can employ more people. And children cost less. I pay my workers 300 rupees ($4.50; £3.50) a day. But I pay an underage employee only 100 rupees ($1.50) a day. It's a big saving. He is also not very concerned about the provision that such work can only take place within the family. How long does it take to acquire a family? he asks...It's not a big problem...This is exactly what child rights' activists and critics of the new law fear - that it will be exploited and used to drive even more children out of school and into work.

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Article
27 July 2016

Possible loophole in new Indian child labour Bill, mica mining under scrutiny

Author: Ajoy K Das, Mining Weekly

The new legislation prunes the list of “hazardous occupations” from 83 in the previous law to only three — mining, inflammable substances and hazardous processes as defined in the Factories Act...Several MPs and activists have pointed out the ambiguous definition of “family enterprises”. Even though miningremains a “hazardous occupation”, it was pointed out that most mica mining across key provinces was performed by largely small enterprises run by extended family enterprises engaging children, while traders formed the key link to buyers of mica, domestic and international...Several law makers believe that the employment of children in family enterprises is a loophole, which provides an escape route to all those employing children in mining and that the government does not have the means to verify if every child employed forms part of the family owning the enterprise.

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Article
26 July 2016

Changes to India's child labour law will disadvantage tribals, lower-castes - U.N.

Author: Nita Bhalla, Guardian

he United Nations says changes to India's child labour law which permit children to work for their families and reduce the number of banned occupations for adolescents will disadvantage vulnerable groups such as tribals and lower-caste communities...With child labour rates highest among tribal and lower caste communities at almost 7 percent and 4 percent respectively, UNICEF said, the changes could have an adverse impact on these especially marginalised and impoverished communities...More than half of India's child workers labour in agriculture and over a quarter in manufacturing - embroidering clothes, weaving carpets or making match sticks. Children also work in restaurants and hotels, and as domestic workers.

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Article
25 July 2016

India: Social Consciousness and Rights of Children: Legitimising Child Labour!

Author: Leena Prasad & Vikram Srivastava, Countercurrent

The Social Consciousness of Law Makers and Politicians at large when it comes to Rights of Children is missing, leading to the rise in violations against children. The recent passing of the bill in the Rajya Sabha with less than 25% of its member being present and conspicuous silence and ignorance of the middle class only reflects the larger design to maintain the status quo. It suits the industry, it suits the economy and finally the family both employing and those sending. With State becoming part of the larger controversy – voiceless children with no political or economic say are left helpless. Lets acknowledge that State in its role of Parens Patriae has failed miserably to provide a robust legal and institutional mechanism, when it comes to Children.

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Article
20 July 2016

India: Everything you need to know about Child Labour Amendment Bill

Author: Hindustan Times

In 1986, Parliament enacted a law to protect children from forced labour and exploitation, putting a blanket ban on employing children under the age of 18...in November 2012… UPA government proposed amendments to the law to allow partial relaxation…allows adolescents…to work in non-hazardous occupations and processes…new law, while giving some relaxation for employment, makes it mandatory that the child can help one’s family…enterprise only after school hours…In case of violation, only the employer.. pay up to Rs 50,000 as penalty and face imprisonment between six months and two years.

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Article
24 May 2015

India: New child labour norms leave many dissatisfied

Author: Namrata Acharya, Business Standard

Not many anti-child labour activists are content with the Union government's recent changes to child labour laws...about 70 per cent of child labourers are in the farm sector. Now, there will be more incidences of child labour in this segment...In India, agriculture employs about 69.5 per cent of child labour (5-14 years), according to a 2013 report, Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor, by the US labour department. "Children are engaged in the manufacturing of goods, many in the informal economy, and increasingly in home-based production," the report said. "We only partially welcome the new legislation. While the government accepted our pending demand to ban all forms of child labour below the age of 14, it will encourage child labour in farmlands," said Yogesh Dube, chairman of Bhartiya Vikas Sansthan and a former member of NCPCR. "Industries such as rice mills, bidi factories and coir making, to mention a few, will now see more child labourers.

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Article
13 May 2015

Government's Historic Amendment to Child Labour Act Will Fuel Exploitation, Say Activists

Author: Ketki Angre, NDTV

"This is a historic decision. We have also made it illegal for adolescents to work in any hazardous industry, which wasn't done earlier," said Bandaru Dattatreya, Union Minister of State for Labour...The amendment is in direct conflict with the Right to Education, argue activists, who believe that this will reverse the gains of years of fighting for the rights of children...Congress leader Ahmed Patel also said in a tweet, "Govt's move to partially legitimise Child Labour is a retrograde step. It violates RTE & defeats our aspiration to be a just society."

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