Realising the need for a robust child labour law and its effective implementation, a panel of stakeholders recommended that all the existing legislations for enforcement of effective law be converged into one and proper rehabilitation package for rescued child labourers be made available.

The Bachpan Bachao Andolan along with major child rights advocacy organisations and academic institutions proposed these amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986, on Friday.

Vocational courses

The panel of stakeholders felt that introduction of a vocational stream at the secondary education level could help avoid child labour in the age group of 14 to18. Strict restriction on hazardous occupations and production of items like beedi, agarbathi, firecrackers was recommended, stringent punishment be meted out to those who employ child labour and employment of child labour be made a cognisable offence.

Among the other recommendations was a total ban of child labour of under-14s in accordance with the Right to Education Act. The panel suggested that a child be defined as one who is below 18 years and recommended that international law should not be diluted by creating definitions such as ‘child’ and ‘adolescent’. These amendments have been suggested to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 1986.

Commissioner of Education S.R. Umashankar and Additional Labour Commissioner J.T. Jinkalappa were present at the consultation along with representatives from Centre for Child and the Law from the National Law School of India University, Citizen’s Voluntary Initiative for the City, South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring, Association for Promoting Social Action, Sparsha Trust, Justice and Care, International Justice Mission, Bridge Network, Radio Active and Evangelical Social Action Forum.

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