The Rajya Sabha on 19 July 2016 passed the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012.
The official amendment seeks to amend the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) (CLPR) Act, 1986 and allows children below the age of 14 years to work in select non-hazardous family enterprises.
Provisions of Bill
• It prohibits employment of children below 14 years in all occupation or processes except where the child helps his family after school, with the provision for imprisonment up to two years for any violation. It was made in light to the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.
• It also adds a new category of persons called adolescent meaning children between 14 to 18 years of age and prohibits employment of adolescents in hazardous occupations as specified (mines, inflammable substance and hazardous processes).
• It gives right to the Union Government to add or omit any hazardous occupation from the list included in the Bill.
• It also enhances the punishment for employing any child in an occupation. It also includes penalty for employing an adolescent in a hazardous occupation.
• The penalty for employing a child was increase to imprisonment between 6 months and two years or a fine of 20000 rupees to 50000 rupees or both. Earlier, the imprisonment term and penalty were from three months to one year and from 1000) rupees to 20000 rupees or both.
• The penalty for employing an adolescent in hazardous occupation is imprisonment between 6 months and two years or a fine of 20000 rupees to 50000 rupees or both.
• The government may confer powers on a District Magistrate to ensure that the provisions of the law are properly carried out.
• The Bill empowers the government to make periodic inspection of places at which employment of children and adolescents are prohibited.
Why the need for amending CLPR Act, 1986?
Firstly, the official amendments along with Amendment Bill, 2012 seeks to strike a balance between the need for education for a child and the reality of the socio-economic condition and social fabric in the country.
Secondly, the socio-economic milieu of India is such that, on the one hand, children help their parent especially in occupations like agriculture, artisanship etc. and on the other, they learn basics of occupation while helping the parents.
Thirdly, the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act (CLPR Act) 1986 was not in sync with the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 that enjoins the State to ensure free and compulsory education to all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years. A corollary to this would be that if a child is in the work place, he would miss school.
Lastly, CLPR Act was not in conformity with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions 138 and 182, which provide for minimum age of entry into employment and prohibition of employment of persons below 18 years, in work which is likely to harm health, safety and morals.
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 4 December 2012 by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Mallikarjun Kharge.
Later, the amendments to the bill 2012 were approved by the Union Cabinet on 13 May 2015.
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Where: Rajya Sabha
When: 19 July 2016