The ban on child labour will come into force on Tuesday but there is little cheer for about 13 crore working children as their future appears uncertain in the absence of a comprehensive rehabilitation package.
Questions have been raised on how the government will ensure the effective implementation of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act that bars children under 14 years from working as domestic help or servants at roadside eateries and other non-hazardous jobs.
There is a separate law banning the employment of children in factories, mines and hazardous work.
The labour ministry, which has already prohibited the government employees from engaging children as domestic help, recently issued a notification warning that anyone employing children would be liable to prosecution and other penal action, including fine and a one-year jail term.
The fresh notification prohibits employment of children as domestic servants or servants in dhabas (roadside eateries), restaurants, hotels, motels, teashops, resorts, spas and recreational centres.
While the government has decided to crack the whip, experts are of the view that a ban without a proper rehabilitation plan will backfire.
Shaiju Varghese, coordinator of "Childline" (child helpline), said it will be difficult for implementing agencies to locate domestic workers unless society is sensitised.
The labour ministry is, however, planning to strengthen and expand its rehabilitative scheme of National Child Labour Project, which now covers 250 child labour endemic districts.