Internationally agency UNICEF raised concerns over amended Child Labor Bill in India, urging the removal of certain provisions of the bill.
Child labor is the practice of involving child in economic activities on part or full time basis. It is harmful to their physical and mental growth.
As per 2011 National Census of India, about 12.6 million children were engaged in Child Labor.
Recently, Rajya Sabha approved the amended Child Labor Bill, which allows children to help in family and family enterprises, other than hazardous occupation after their school hours and during vacations.
According to UN Children’s Agency, because of the amended Child Labor Act, some forms of child labor become invisible and may results in irregular school attendance, lower standards of learning and sometimes it may trigger school drop out.
Labor and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said the government enabled many safeguards in the new bill and the law will be helpful to poor families and give their children a chance to enhance skills.
But some social activist’s criticizing the exemption which allows children to work for family business in leisure time and during school holidays. They said it makes a clear way for children to employ in hazardous industries like diamond cutting, brick kilns, slaughterhouses and chemical factories.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarti said the bill was a missed opportunity for India and definition of family and family enterprises are flawed.
Adding that the bill uses Indian family values to justify economic exploitation of children and misleading the society by blurring the lines between learning in a family and working in a family enterprise. All in all government had failed its children once again.
UNICEF strongly recommended the removal of children helping in family enterprises in their leisure time for a strong and protective legal framework for children.