Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016 approved by Lok Sabha
Lok Sabha on 26 July 2016 passed the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016 to amend the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) (CLPR) Act, 1986. The amendment bill allows children below the age of 14 years to work in select non-hazardous family enterprises.
With this, both the houses of parliament passed the bill. Rajya Sabha passed the bill on 19 July 2016. Now, the bill will be sent to the President for his assent.
Status of Child Labour in India
As per data presented in form of answer about child labour in Rajya Sabha in 2014, the number of child labourers decreased by 65% - from 1.26 crore to 82.2 lakh (aged between 5 – 14 years) between Census 2001 to and Census 2011.
The five biggest child labour employer states of India are - Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Over half of India's total child labour population works here. India's biggest hub of child labour is Uttar Pradesh and it accounts for almost 20% of India's child labourers.
Major schemes like Right to Education, MNREGA, Mid-Day Meal have given children an incentive to study and has helped in reducing the population in terms of child labour.
Successive governments have fought to end child labour like elimination of child labour from hazardous occupations and processes.
How the Bill was perceived?
A United Nations body has expressed concern over the changes made in Child Labour law. UNICEF India said this could lead to more children working in unregulated conditions. Although the body welcomed the law, it expressed concern over the provision of children working in family enterprises which, it said, could further disadvantage the most vulnerable children.
Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi termed the bill a missed opportunity for the country's children. He said that he had hoped that the leaders would have valued the freedom and childhood much greater than their votes.
Creation of opinion and changing policy along with laws can only help in reviving childhood of children who work as labours in different walks of life including rural and urban areas of the country.