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U14 kids can work to “help family”

Posted in S. Asia


Published on May 15, 2015 with No Comments

The Indian Cabinet has moved to prohibit all forms of child labour below the age of 14 years making exceptions for children helping families or working in family-based enterprises after school hours and during holidays and for children employed in the entertainment industry and sports barring circus.
Child activists slammed the amendments saying majority children were working in home-based occupations in India and the government, by making exceptions, had excluded a vast section of child labour from protection. As per 2011 Census, India has 12.6 million working children.
Another amendment the Cabinet allowed to the existing Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2012 is banning employment of adolescents (14 to 18 year olds) in hazardous occupations which have been separately defined. Further, penalties for employing children in violation of the law stand doubled.
The current legislation prohibits child labour below 14 years in 18 listed hazardous occupations and 65 hazardous procedures. It allows employment of 14 to 18 year olds.
Cabinet amendments were needed because the Right to Education Act 2009 mandates free and compulsory elementary education for 6 to 14 year olds and if the children under 14 years are allowed to work they can’t be at school.
Penalties for employment of child labour have, however, been doubled through today’s amendments — imprisonment for not less than six months up to two years and fine of Rs 20,000 up to Rs 50,000 upon first offence (earlier the imprisonment was three months up to one year and fine was Rs 10,000 to Rs 20,000). Upon second or subsequent offence, minimum imprisonment would be one year up to three as against six months up to two years earlier.


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