Saturday, March 23, 2013

NCPCR for change in Child Labour Act, seeks cover for teens

NCPCR for change in Child Labour Act, seeks cover for teens

Published: Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012, 16:17 IST
Agency: PTI

Decrying the persistent practice of employing children in various sectors, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) today batted for amendment of the Child Labour Act and for inclusion of adolescent labourers under its purview.
"Despite a series of awareness programmes and various measures, child labour continues to persist in the country as people are making use of the loopholes in the present law. This calls for serious deliberations and an amendment in the law," Chairperson of NCPCR, Shanta Sinha said.
The head of the child rights body also advocated the need to redefine the word 'child' and 'child labourer' under the Act.
In spite of the fact that the definition of a 'child' under the Juvenile Justice Act is 18 years, adolescents have been left out of the law relating to child labour and are governed by regulation under by the Minimum Wages Act, she pointed.
"Having no access to education this vulnerable section fall victims to early child marriage and child bearing. They also face the risk of physical and sexual abuse," she said, adding that strong legal instruments must be used to abolish the practice in the 14-18 years age group.
Sinha was speaking at a function here organised by NCPCR, ILO and United Nations Children's Fund to mark Anti-Child Labour Day.
Neela Gangadharan, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, who was also present at the function, said the government was pulling out all stops to plug in the loopholes in the present law.
"However, we are aware that there are many unfinished tasks and an amendment needs to be made at the earliest in the present law governing child labourers," she admitted.
NCPCR members at the function also called for clubbing both hazardous and non-hazardous work as child labour.
"The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act of 1986 should be amended in such a way that all forms of child labour stand abolished without drawing distinction between hazardous and non-hazardous child labour," NCPCR member Yogesh Dube said.
"Child labour should have no legal justification," he added.
Other demands raised by the child rights body include ratification of international instruments against child labour, review of existing anti-child labour policies and adapting them to Right to Education Act and Juvenile Justice Act and universalisation of secondary education for all children in the age group of 14-18.

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