A total ban on child labour in India may soon become a reality with union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya Tuesday asserting that he was committed to passing a legislation to this effect.
Speaking at a national consultation on child domestic work and trafficking, Dattatreya said his ministry was “committed to pass the amended child labour (law) in parliament”, which envisages a complete ban on child labour till the age of 14.
The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012, already passed by the Lok Sabha, awaiting the Rajya Sabha’s nod.
Dattatreya said he would like to emulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Save Girl Child, Educate Girl Child’ programme and introduce something similar to address child labour in the country.
The consultation, organised by child rights agency Save the Children, examined issues and concerns of children in domestic work and child trafficking while suggesting policy changes with respect to the child labour amendment bill.
Invoking the gravity of the situation, the minister said child labour is a “very serious challenge” with about 8.2 million children facing the scourge.
The victims of child labour become disinterested in attending school as they become dependent on illegal employment, thus posing a serious roadblock in the way of measures to correct the problem, he added.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), approximately 12.6 million children fall prey to child labour in India, while NGOs put it to the tune of 100 million.
Shireen Vakil Miller, director, advocacy and policy, Save the Children, said: “Fundamentally, a significant shift in societal attitudes (especially those of parents and employers) is needed if progress is to be made in protecting children from exploitation.”