CHENNAI: The Union government plans to introduce a clause to the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 to ban employment of children in hazardous factories and industries below the age of 18 years, announced Union Minister for Labour and Employment Mallikarjun Kharge, at the National Children Yatra on Climate Change here in Chennai on Sunday.
However, the Minister said that as per the Act, the age limit of a child will continue to remain at 14.
While responding to a query by Express on whether the age limit of a child would be increased to 18 from the present 14 in defining a child, he said, “There won’t be any such increase in the age. As per the Act, only till the age of 14, they will be defined as a child. But we are working to introduce the clause in the Act to protect children up to the age of 18 from being employed in the hazardous factories and industries.”
The Minister said, “We are in the process of bringing out amendments in the Act to prohibit and ban completely employment of children below the age of 14 years.”
Addressing over 500 children from various parts of India at the Yatra, the Minister touched upon the issue of child labour.
He said, “A child’s natural place is at school and in the playground. But there are a few unfortunate ones who are out of school and employed as labour.”
He detailed the efforts taken by the government to bring down child labour in the age group of 5-14 years quoting statistics from the NSSO Survey. As per the 2004-05 survey, there were 90.75 lakh working children in India. This had come down to 49.84 lakh as per NSSO 2009-10 survey, showing a decline of 45 per cent.