The employment of children below 14 years will soon be a thing of the past, with an amendment Bill to the Child Labour Abolition Act, which was discussed in the winter session of Parliament in the works. It will also prohibit the employment of children in the 14–18 age group in hazardous industries.
Union Labour and Employment Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge, who piloted the amendment Bill in the winter session of Parliament, told presspersons here on Saturday that the proposed amendment would enable the Labour Department to effectively check child labour and also help the government achieve the objective of providing compulsory education to children until the age of 14.
Mr. Kharge said that during his recent meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, pending amendments to the Mines and Safety Act, 1912 and the Contract Labourers’ Abolition Act were discussed in detail. Mr. Kharge added that he had also sought early introduction of these amendment Bills in Parliament.
“The Mines and Safety Act, 1912 was last amended in 1952.
“It is being amended now to safeguard the interests of mine workers and enable the Act to punish mine owners for any violation of safety norms more effectively,” the Minister said.
He said that the amendment would make the owners more accountable for the safety of workers.
“Now, they cannot absolve themselves of their responsibility by holding the in-charge officer of the mine responsible for any incidents,” he added.
Mr. Kharge said that the amendment to the Contract Labourers’ Abolition Act proposes to ensure equal wages for equal work to contract labourers, providing them with the same benefits enjoyed by permanent labourers and social security and healthcare facilities.