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Recommendations of Parliamentary Standing Committee

Highlights of the 40th Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, to which the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012, was referred. The Report was presented to the Lok Sabha on December 13, 2013.

• The Committee was concerned that various Acts have prescribed different ages to define a ‘child’.

• It suggested that the proviso allowing a child to help his/her family after school hours should be deleted.

• It noted that though one of the objectives of the Bill is to ‘to regulate the conditions of services of adolescents’ i.e. children in the age group 15 years -18 years, it contains no provisions to give effect to this objective.

It suggested that regulation of working conditions of the adolescents, including the criteria for their wages and settlement of disputes with regard to age of the child, be included in the Bill.

It opined that adolescents should complete elementary education before being allowed to be employed in any occupation.

It recommended that the definition of hazardous processes in which adolescents would be barred from employment be widened to include all processes that jeopardise health, safety and the morals of adolescents.

The Bill provides that parents/guardians of children shall be liable for punishment if they allow children below 14 years to work for commercial purposes and adolescents if they permit him/her to work in enlisted hazardous occupations. The Committee noted the government’s initiatives, to reduce parents’ compulsion for putting their children to work, but felt that benefits of such initiatives have not percolated adequately, and recommended that the Bill be amended to take a lenient view of poor parents and those parents who were unable to benefit from such initiatives. [Page 25 of the 40 th Report of the Standing Committee on Labour.]

The Committee recommended that Vigilance and Monitoring Committees headed by local MPs be tasked with reviewing the implementation of the Act instead of the District Magistrate (as provided in the Bill).

The Committee censured the Ministry of Labour and Employment for its casual reply on the issue of trafficking and street children. It recommended that all concerned Ministries should evolve a comprehensive strategy to solve this problem.

The Committee noted that the Bill contains no provision for rescue and rehabilitation of children. It recommended that instead of entrusting multiple Ministries [such as Labour and Employment, Human Resource Development and Women and Child Development] with this task, the government should bring a new Child Labour Policy, which specifies the machinery to implement laws, policies and projects.

Source: Lok Sabha Secretariat. 2013. Fortieth Standing Committee on Labour, December. Accessed May 25, 2015.

Full text of the 40th Report of Standing Committee on Labour

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