HUBBALLI: Nobel peace prize winner Kailash Satyarthi on Friday urged the Union government to pass a Bill that seeks to ban children aged up to 14 years from being employed.
Addressing a press conference here on Friday, the sixty-year-old said the Bill was pending before the Parliament for more than two years.
“Such a comprehensive Bill is the need of the hour as the existing Acts like Child Labour Act, Juvenile Justice Act and the Right to Education Act contradict each other with respect to the age of the children. While Child Labour Act considers those below 14 years as children, in Juvenile Justice Act it is 18 years,” Satyarthi said.
To a question, he said due to the growing awareness among people and the continued efforts of the governments and NGOs, the number of children employed as labourers was coming down across the world.
“According to the statistics available, the number of child labourers has come down from 268 million to 160 million in a span of 12-13 years across the world. Similarly the number of school dropouts has also come down to 68 million from 130 million. These figures give us hope that the collective efforts of the society is working. I am very optimistic that the situation will improve further,” he added.
Satyarthi also demanded that the Centre make higher allocation for education in the upcoming Budget. “Education brings awareness and this awareness will help in eradicating social evils, including child labour and atrocities on children. So there is a need to invest more on education,” he said.
When asked about the prevailing malnutrition in children in a few districts of the state, Satyarthi said it can be tackled effectively if it becomes a political priority. He urged religious leaders to speak against domestic violence on children and to educate people on the issue.