The upper house of Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha On Tuesday unanimously passed the Child Labour Amendment Bill 2012 that restricts employment of children below 14 in any kind of occupation or enterprises, except those run by his or her own family.
Violation of this rule will be recorded as cognizable offence for employers that can lead to imprisonment up to two years. Also, a hefty penalty (Rs 20,000- Rs 50,000) will be imposed on the parents of such children.
The Bill also lays down that adolescents (14-18 years) cannot be employed in hazardous occupation and process such as chemicals and mines.
According to provisions of the Bill, no child should be employed in any occupation or process except where he or she helps his family after school hours or helps his family in fields, home based work, forest gathering or attends technical institutions during vacations for the purpose of learning.
While most of the people welcomed the bill, many criticised the government because it still allows children to work in family occupations. The government has justified this amendment by saying, “In a large number of families, children help parents in occupations such as agriculture and artisanship, and while helping the parents, children also learn the basics of these occupations.”
Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi 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. This day has come after a long struggle, which began in 1986 when the child labour law was enacted.”
India has battled the menace of child labour gradually and the figures have improved. In 2001, the census counted 12.6 million child workers in the country between the ages of five and 14. While in 2011, the number fell to 4.35 million.
The Logical Indian hopes that this Bill will be able to root out child labour from the country. We urge our community members to voice your protest if you find child labourers anywhere.