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Cabinet okays new laws to allow children below 14 to work in select areas

Cabinet approved amendments to the Child Labour Act, for children below 14 years to work in family enterprises and as artist.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: May 13, 2015, 02.32 PM IST
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Students and teachers watch a TV broadcast of a speech marking Teachers' Day by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a S. P S Janata Vidyala at Bhandup in Mumbai.
Students and teachers watch a TV broadcast of a speech marking Teachers' Day by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a S. P S Janata Vidyala at Bhandup in Mumbai.
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NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, paving way for children below 14 years to work in family enterprises and as artist in audio visual entertainment industry after school or during vacations.

Barring this exception, the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012 have proposed a complete ban on employment of children below 14 years in all occupations and processes while banning adolescents between 14 and 18 years from working in hazardous occupation and have doubled the penalty in case of contravention of the Act, thus aligning the age of prohibition of employment linked to age under Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

“Striking a balance between the need for education for a child and the reality of the socio-economic condition and social fabric in the country, the Cabinet has approved that a child can help his family or family enterprise, which is other than any hazardous occupation or process, after his school hours or during vacation. Also, an exception has been made for a child working as artist in an audio-visual entertainment industry, except the circus, provided that the school education of the child is not affected,” the statement said.

The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act (CLPR Act) 1986 prohibits employment of a child in 18 occupations and 65 processes and regulates the conditions of working of children in other occupations/ processes. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 enjoins the State to ensure free and compulsory education to all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years. However, the CLPR Act is not aligned to the RTE Act as it permits employment of child below 14 years in occupations/processes not prohibited.

“Further, CLPR Act is not in conformity with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions 138 and 182, which provide for minimum age of entry into employment and prohibition of employment of persons below 18 years, in work which is likely to harm health, safety and morals,” it said.
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