What is the bill all about?
In 1986, Parliament enacted a law to protect children from forced labour and exploitation, putting a blanket ban on employing children under the age of 18. It triggered several protests and even trade unions cited practical difficulties, especially for poor families. Later, in November 2012, the UPA government proposed amendments to the law to allow partial relaxation. The current bill is a modified version of the UPA’s proposals.
What does the new bill say?
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill prohibits employment of children below 14 years of age in all occupations. But it allows adolescents (those between 14 and 18 years of age) to work in non-hazardous occupations and processes. They can work in family-run establishments like a grocery store but can’t work in a chemical factory.
How does the new law take care of education for children?
The new law, while giving some relaxation for employment, makes it mandatory that the child can help one’s family and a family enterprise only after school hours or during vacations. During school days, no family can employ its children for job.
What if a family or an employer is found violating the law?
In case of violation, only the employer will be held responsible. He may pay up to Rs 50,000 as penalty and face imprisonment between six months and two years. For subsequent offence, the penalty will be imprisonment between one and three years.
What happens when a child is rescued from forced labour?
It will be the responsibility of the state government to rehabilitate the child. The government will give Rs 15,000 and add the fine from the employer to help the child’s rehabilitation.