The Union Cabinet on 31 March 2017 approved the ratification of the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138) and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182).
The approval for the ratification of the two fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) was given at a meeting of the Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi.
While the Minimum Age Convention deals with the minimum age for admission to employment, the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 is concerned with the prohibition and immediate action for elimination of the worst forms of Child Labour.
India’s role in the International Labour Organization
• India is a founder member of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which came into existence in 1919. At present, the ILO has 187 members.
• The principal means of action in the ILO is the setting up of International standards in the form of Conventions, Recommendations and Protocol.
• India has so far ratified 45 Conventions, out of which 42 are in force. Out of these 4 are Fundamental or Core Conventions.
• The Union Government has adopted a multi-pronged strategy, including both stringent legislative and project based approach, to address the concerns related to child labour.
• As part of this strategy, the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 was enacted to prohibit employment or work of children below 14 years in any occupation or process.
• In recent years, the government has stepped up its momentum to eliminate child labour, which is a commitment under the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
• The ratification of the Convention No 138 and 182 is considered as a right step in this direction.
• So far, the Convention 138 has been ratified by 169 countries and the Convention 182 has been ratified by 180 countries.
• Hence, by ratifying these two core conventions, India would join the majority of the countries, who have adopted the legislation to prohibit and place severe restrictions on the employment and work of children.