According to a new rule issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), employing children under the age of 14 as domestic help will invite both penal and disciplinary action for the bureaucrats. The rule comes into effect from Tuesday.
The DoPT has issued instructions to all government departments to advise officials not to engage domestic help under 14. The circular was issued in the wake of the ministry of Labour and Employment’s notification prohibiting employment of children in dhabas, restaurants and homes.
Unlike citizens, who would be penalised only under relevant sections of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, the bureaucrats will also have to face disciplinary action under service rules.
The DoPT recently asked all the government departments to enlist procedure for departmental inquiry against the officials, who employed children.
The move, officials said, serves the twin-objective of deterring bureaucrats from employing children as well as initiating action against the officials violating the Act. “We have asked the enforcing agencies to pick VIPs to highlight the problem and create awareness among people about the new rule,” a ministry official said.
The Labour ministry on Monday released figures of child labour in the hospitality industry and as domestic help. Of the total 1.2 crore children, 1.85 lakh are employed as domestic help and another 70,000 in restaurants and dhabas. Most of them are employed in the top 10 cities of the country. In India, 13 states including five Bimaru states are considered endemic to child labour.
On the other hand, ministry of Women and Child Development has asked the state governments to create aditional capacity to provide shelter to those children who would be thrown out of work, after the rule is implemented.