India can ratify ILO protocol on child labour: Dattatreya

India will be able to ratify two International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions, 182 and 138, on the abolition of all forms of child labour, after the Parliament passed a Bill banning employment of children below 14 years of age, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said.

“Since the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016 has been passed by Parliament and prohibits employment of children up to 14 years of age, the ILO conventions 138 and 182 will be ratified,” Mr. Dattatreya said. Labour Secretary Shankar Aggarwal said the ministry will go to the Parliament informing them about the ratification. “We were not able to ratify these ILO conventions primarily because we had not banned all kinds of occupations for kids below 14 years of age. On the basis of this enactment, we will go to the Parliament informing then that the conditions have been fulfilled and conventions will be ratified,” Mr. Aggarwal said.

ILO Convention 138 says that the minimum age for employment should not be less than the age of completion of compulsory schooling (14 years of age in India's case). The ILO Convention 182 calls for the need to formulate legislation for prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour.

The Ministry also reached out to ILO and the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in its defence to criticism related to the new child labour law.

Listing out differences between the clauses of the previous law and the one cleared by Parliament, the minister said the new law was a “huge improvement.”