Shakti Vahini welcomes the move by
the Government of India to ban all forms of Child Labour till the age of 14. With these amendment the classification of Hazardous and non hazardous jobs by children will not apply . With these move the Child Labour legislation is being brought in conformity with the Constitutional Provision of Right to Education Act .
Employing a child below 14 years in any kind of occupation is set to become a cognizable offence, punishable with a maximum three years imprisonment or fine upto a maximum of Rs. 50,000.The Union cabinet is likely to approve the Child & Adolescent Labour (Prohibition) Act, 1986 today which will allow employing children only between 14-18 years in non- hazardous industries like forest gathering, child care etc. Children between 14-18 years have been defined as “adolescents” in the amended Act. The existing Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, while prohibiting employment of children in hazardous industries allows children below 14 years of age to work in industries not considered to be hazardous. The amended Act, being moved by the labour ministry, also puts a blanket ban on employing anybody below 18 years in hazardous occupation.Such hazardous occupations have also been re-classified in line with the increase in the minimum age of child labour from 14 to 18 years.
As an organization which has been struggling for rescuing and rehabilitating thousands of children across the country who are engaged in child labour this move by the Government comes after years of advocacy and campaigns for Policy change and will have a lasting effect in the war against child labour in India. At Shakti Vahini we feel that banning any employment of children below 14 years will go a long way in enforcing the Right to Education Act, 2009 which mandates free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of 6-14 years.