A blanket ban on employing children below 18 years must be enforced in all kinds of industries. This was one of the suggestions made at a meeting organised by Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL), Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, here on Saturday.

Representatives from various voluntary organisations working for the eradication of child labour came together to deliberate suggestions to amend the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986. The consultation meeting was held in the wake of the Union labour and employment ministry calling for suggestions for amendments to the Act before July 15.

State convenor of CACL, Joseph Victor Raj, said the Act prohibits employing children aged up to 14 in hazardous industries. The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012, has extended the ban to employment of children under 14 years in all kinds of industries. But, it directs regulation of employing those aged between 15 and 18 in industries.

“We demand a complete ban on employing those under 18 years. This is based on The National Policy for Children’s definition that those aged below 18 years are children,” he said.

Representatives of various organisations, including UNICEF, Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation and Save the Children, have also suggested that rehabilitation measures of child labourers must be incorporated in the amendments to the Act.

Mr. Raj said a new national child labour policy was the need of the hour. “We will submit the suggestions made in this meeting to the Union ministry on July 10,” he said.

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