World Day against Child Labour

Published: June 13, 2019

World Day against Child Labour 2019 was observed on 12 June to raise awareness about the plight of child labourers worldwide with the theme ‘Children shouldn t work in fields, but on dreams’.

What is Child Labour?

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) defines child labour as “work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development”. ILO states that a child is anyone who is under the age of 18.

Criticisms against India

  • With the Child Labour (Prevention and Regulation) Amendment Act of 2016, India has split its young citizens into children aged less than 14 years and adolescents aged between 14-18 years of age.
  • This enables employers to circumvent the ILO provisions and employ a 14-year-old as a full-time worker especially as a domestic or household help.
  • This circumnavigation of India lowers its child labour force by over two-thirds.
  • Further, the Child Labour (Prevention and Regulation) Amendment Act of 2016 has reduced the number of hazardous industries to just three viz. mining, explosives and hazardous processes leaving out such hazardous industries as chemical mixing units, brick kilns and battery recycling units, among others.
  • The amended law also allows children under the age of 14 years to work in family enterprises and businesses after school hours or during vacations.
  • The amended law also legalises the employment of children as actors in the film and entertainment industry, as also in sports activities provided it does not affect their school education. But it falls short on giving clarity on the maximum number of hours a child may work, or the definition of school hours.

Data from the 2011 Census suggests that while the share of child labour has come down in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors, it has more than doubled in the services and the construction sectors.

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