Complete Ban on Child Labour
Complete Ban on Child Labour When the constitution of India was adopted in 1950, it promised to safeguard the rights of children and protect them from economic exploitation. However, 65 years later it is still perfectly okay to employ a six-year-old child as a helper in an agriculture field or as any other domestic help. As per the census 2011, India has over four million working children in the age group of 5-14 years.
Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi had taken up the issue of why it is the need of the hour to urgently pass the Child Labour(Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012 in the parliament. He undertook a study to understand the quality of conviction in crimes against children. Of the 45,269 cases of child labour reported between 2008 and 2012 only 3394 cases,i.e. 7% reached the conviction stage. It shows that the laws protecting the rights of children is there in place but are not enforced with the necessary conviction. Hence, Mr Satyarthi had made the following demands in the amended law-
- All forms of child labour should be prohibited up to the age of 14. As of today, child labour is prohibited only in 18 occupations and 65 industrial processes identified as hazardous.
- Up to the age of 18, no child should be employed in the worst forms of child labour, such as begging.
- The law should be made deterrent by increasing the fine amount and period of imprisonment.
- the law must address the accountability of those employed in enforcement agencies, such as factory inspectors and labour inspectors, and if children are found working within their jurisdiction, they must be held responsible. It is not the employer alone who is culpable.
- Child labour must be made a cognisable and non-bailable offence so that even a common man could report such cases and action could be taken immediately.
- Rehabilitation should is made an integral part of the law on child labour. Rehabilitation measures should be included in government schemes and must address the economic rehabilitation of parents where necessary. FDI
“Poverty is not what is keeping back our children from getting an education. If only 22 Billion dollars or just 4.5 days of global military budget was spent, all the children could be educated. Besides, it was comparable to one-fifth of how much Europe spends on cosmetics or one-sixth of the US spending on tobacco items”,
Satyarthi said while adding that as per World Bank and International Labour Organization (ILO), if $1 were spent on eradicating child labour, then the return on investment (ROI) in 20 years would be $7.
Complete Ban on Child Labour Kailash Satyarthi raised a concern about terrorist groups in Syria, Nigeria, and Iraq targeting schoolchildren. “Global terrorism feeds on lack of education. Education is in grave danger, as there is a global war raging against it. Radical elements are abducting, molesting girls, and putting guns into the hands of children as they are threatened by schools and they know the power of education can eradicate communalism and fundamentalism,” said the Nobel winner while recounting Peshawar school massacre.
However, he rued increasing commercialization and commodification of good quality school education. “4,000 girls have been abducted in Syria who remains untraceable till today. Violence against children is not in rape, murder, or trafficking, but fear that keeps millions of girls away from being educated,” he said. Expressing concern over the recent debate to make juvenile crime punishable for serious offences such as rape, he said the enabling aspects of the law, premised on care and protection for children under 18, have been ignored. “Next time when you see a child begging on the street, remember that under the Juvenile Justice Act they are eligible for rescue and protection. But how many of us even know that?”
According to a report published by Hindustan Times, a draft provision in the Child Labour Prohibition Act states the prohibition on child labour would not apply if they were helping the family in fields, forests and home-based family enterprise after school hours or during vacations, or while attending technical institutions. “In a large number of families, children help their parents in their occupations like agriculture, artisanship, etc. and while helping the parents, children also learn the basics of occupations.”
Therefore, it is said that the amendment seeks to strike a balance between the need for education for a child and the reality of the socio-economic conditions.
Child rights activists have argued that the definition of family enterprises could include matchbox making, carpet weaving, and gem polishing industries, where child labour is in high demand. They have also argued that the new norms can be used to deny education to the girl child who will be stuck with household work.