The apex body for child rights, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, has issued draft guidelines for the employment of children in the entertainment industry which require producers to obtain permission from the District Magistrate, ensure a safe environment as well as provide private tutors for child artistes required to skip school for shoots.
The latest draft regulatory guidelines replace the earlier ones of 2011 to include provisions of new laws and amendments such as the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015; Child Labour Amendment Act, 2016; Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012; and the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. These guidelines also apply to over-the-top platforms such as Netflix and Amazon, as well as engagement of children for creating content on social media platforms such as Instagram.
The draft guidelines require producers to seek permission from the District Magistrate for engaging children for a programme. The latter will have to issue a permit after the worksite has been inspected, which will be valid for a period of six months.
Producers will also have to ensure that children are not cast in a role where they are exposed to ridicule, insults or harsh comments that could affect their emotional health, and neither should they be shown to consume alcohol, smoke or display nudity.
Production units will also have to be safe for children and must have staff protocols on how they should engage with children. The producer will have to provide adequate and nutritious food as well recreational material and rest facilities.
No child should be made to work for more than six hours, during which they should be provided a break every three hours. Neither can they be made to work between 7 p.m. to 8 a.m., the draft guidelines said.
They also state that it is the duty of the producer that the education of children is not affected because of their engagement during shoots, and it will have to be ensured that such children are provided with private tutors while they are missing school.