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Should India Ban All Forms Of Child Labour? In Regards Of Child Labour (Prohibition And Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015

Millions of children are impacted by the worldwide problem of child labour, with India having one of the highest numbers of children that are exploited this way. The right to education, health care, and protection from exploitation are all guaranteed by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which India ratified in 1992. The Child Labour (Administration and Regulation) Act of 1986 and the Child Labour (Administration and Regulation) Amendment Act of 2015 are two significant laws and regulations in India that protect children from child labour.

The Child Labour (Control and Regulation) Act of 1986 prohibits the employment of kids younger than 14 in risky jobs like mining, beedi production, and carpet weaving. The Act also sets limits on how long and in what kinds of jobs children between the ages of 14 and 18 may work, and it prohibits them from engaging in hazardous labour. However, because of the Act, which permitted kids to engage in less dangerous jobs, kids were exploited in small-scale businesses including agricultural and household labour.

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment statute, 2015, which outlaws the employment of children under the age of 14 in all vocations aside from those carried out by family members, was passed in order to rectify the deficiencies of the 1986 statute. The amendment also makes it illegal to hire adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 for dangerous jobs and puts harsh consequences on employers that break the law, such as jail time and fines.

Despite the legal restrictions, child labour is still a major issue in India, where kids are often made to work in dangerous and exploitative situations. The fireworks industry, where children as young as 5 years old are recruited, is one of the most notorious instances of child labour in India. In the landmark M.C. Mehta v. State of Tamil Nadu[i] case, the Supreme Court of India forbade the use of children in Tamil Nadu's dangerous fireworks industry. The government was ordered by the court to offer impacted families alternate means of support, including schooling.

The need of preventing child labour and exploitation is acknowledged by the global community at large. The Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour, which India ratified in 2000, is one of many agreements and regulations linked to child labour established by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The convention forbids the use of children in dangerous activities and attempts to end the worst types of child labour, including as slavery, human trafficking, and forced labour.

The difficult question of whether child labour in India should be banned completely need for serious analysis of many different elements. On the one hand, child labour robs children of their youth, education, and fundamental rights and exposes them to abuse and exploitation. Contrarily, child labour is frequently a result of poverty and a lack of opportunity, so banning all forms of child labour would worsen family circumstances and raise the danger of child trafficking.

The 2015 amendment to the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act is a step in the right direction towards protecting children from exploitation and hazardous work. The amendment recognises that adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 should not work in dangerous occupations and that children under the age of 14 should not be engaged in any occupation, other than those owned and operated by family members. This indicates that, with a few exceptions, all types of child labour are prohibited in India.

However, child labour continues to be prevalent in India, especially in the unorganised sector, and the 2015 amendment is still not being implemented effectively. Children work in a variety of occupations, including agricultural, domestic work, and small-scale enterprises, where they frequently endure long hours of labour for poor pay as well as physical and mental abuse. Numerous children are also coerced into labour, especially for domestic work and the sex industry, where they are sexually exploited and made to work long hours.

The government must prioritise the implementation of current laws and regulations, offer social assistance and education, and address the underlying causes of child labour in order to effectively address the issue of child labour. This necessitates a multifaceted strategy involving cooperation between the public and business sectors as well as civil society organisations.

It is important to remember that the best way to address the issue may not be to completely ban all types of child labour. A total ban on child labour could further impoverish families and raise the possibility of child trafficking. The government should instead concentrate on enforcing the already-existing laws and rules, making sure that kids aren't forced into dangerous jobs or exploited, and giving families access to social services and education.

In conclusion, child labour is a serious issue in India that has to be addressed immediately by the public sector, corporate sector, and civil society organisations. Despite being an important step in the right direction, the 2015 amendment to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act still has to be strengthened in order to adequately safeguard children from exploitation and abuse. To guarantee that every child in India has the chance to live a life free from exploitation and abuse, a comprehensive strategy emphasising the enforcement of current laws and regulations, offering education and social services, and addressing the causes of child labour is required.

  1. M.C Mehta vs. State of Tamil Nadu & Others, AIR 1997 SC 699

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