Rajya Sabha passes amendments to child labour bill

The bill exempts punishment if children are employed by their own families

GN Bureau | July 20, 2016


#child labour bill   #Rajya Sabha   #Bandaru Dattatreya  

Arun Kumar

The Rajya Sabha has passed the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012 that aims to prohibit employment of children below 14 years in any occupations and of adolescents (between 14-18 years) in certain hazardous occupations. The bill that will now be taken up by the Lok Sabha has an exception for children employed by their own families.

The bill does not include child labour for a child who “helps his family after his school hours or helps his family in fields, home-based work, forest gathering or attends technical institutions during vacations for the purpose of learning, but does not include any help or attending technical institutions where there is subordinate relationship of labour or work which are outsourced and carried out in home.”

Justifying the exemption, minister of state for labour and employment Bandaru Dattatreya gave his own example to the Rajya Sabha of how he used to help his mother after school hours as she couldn’t afford a paid helper.

Child rights activist and Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, however, is not too happy with the bill. In a statement, he said, “The amendment in Child Labour law may have good intent and moves gradually towards our destination, but I cannot say I am happy for the millions of child labourers in our country.”

As per the bill, employing a child below 14 years of age or an adolescent, in a hazardous occupation, would be a cognizable offence and would attract imprisonment of anywhere between six months and two years. A fine of Rs 20-50 thousand may also be slapped.

Read the full details of the bill (by PRS Legislative Research)

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