Thursday, 28 July 2022

Child labour laws in india

 Child labour laws in India

In 2011 , the national census of India found that the total number of child labourers, aged

[5–14], to be at 10.1 million, out of the total of 259.64 million children in that age group. The

child labour problem is not unique to India; worldwide, about 217 million children work,

many full-time.

As per the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, amended in

2016 ("CLPR Act"), a "Child" is defined as any person below the age of 14, and the CLPR

Act prohibits employment of a Child in any employment including as a domestic help. It is a

cognizable criminal offence to employ a Child for any work. Children between age of 14 and

18 are defined as "Adolescent" and the law allows Adolescent to be employed except in the

listed hazardous occupation and processes which include mining, inflammable substance and

explosives related work and any other hazardous process as per the Factories Act, 1948. In

2001, an estimated 1% of all child workers, or about 1,20,000 children in India were in a

hazardous job. Notably, the Constitution of India prohibits child labour in hazardous

industries (but not in non-hazardous industries) as a Fundamental Right under Article 24.

UNICEF estimates that India with its larger population, has the highest number of labourers

in the world under 14 years of age, while sub-Saharan African countries have the highest

percentage of children who are deployed as child labourers. The International Labour

Organization estimates that agriculture, at 60 percent, is the largest employer of child labour

in the world, while the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates 70% of

child labour is deployed in agriculture and related activities. Outside of agriculture, child

labour is observed in almost all informal sectors of the Indian economy.

Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016

Government has enacted the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016

which came into force w.e.f. 1.9.2016. The Amendment Act completely prohibits the

employment of children below 14 years. The amendment also prohibits the employment of

adolescents in the age group of 14 to 18 years in hazardous occupations and processes and

regulates their working conditions where they are not prohibited. The amendment also

provides stricter punishment for employers for violation of the Act and making the offence of

employing any child or adolescent in contravention of the Act by an employer as cognizable.

In order to achieve effective enforcement of the provisions of the Act, the amendment

empowers the appropriate Government to confer such powers and impose such duties on a

District Magistrate as may be necessary. Further, the State Action Plan has been circulated to

all the States/UTs for ensuring effective implementation of the Act.


Major causes of child employment that can be understood keeping in mind the Indian

scenario, are:


 In developing countries it is impossible to control child labour as children have been

considered as helping hand to feed their families, to support their families and to feed

themselves. Due to poverty, illiteracy and unemployment parents are unable to bear the

burden of feeding their children and to run their families. So, poor parents send their children

for work in inhuman conditions at lower wages.


The poor economic conditions of people in india force them to borrow money. The Illiterate

populations go to money lenders and sometimes mortgage their belongings in turn of the debt

taken by them. But, due to insufficiency of income, debtors find it very difficult to pay back

the debt and the interest. This vicious circle of poverty drags them towards working day and

night for the creditor and then the debtors drag their children too in assisting them so that the

debts could be paid off.


There are some industries such as the ‘bangle making’ industry, where delicate hands and

little fingers are needed to do very minute work with extreme excellence and precision. An

adult’s hands are usually not so delicate and small, so they require children to work for them

and do such a dangerous work with glass. This often resulted in major eye accidents

Constitutional Provisions for Child Upliftment:

Article 21 A: Right to Education

The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6 to 14

years in such manner as the State, by law, may determine.

Article 24: Prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc.

No child below the age fourteen years shall be employed in work in any factory or mine or

engaged in any other hazardous employment.

Article 39: The State shall, in particular, direct its policy towards securing

(e) that the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children

are not abused and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter avocations

unsuited to their age or strength.

Legislative Provisions Prohibiting and Regulating Employment of Children

 As per the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 “child” means a person

who has not completed is 14th year of age.

 The Act prohibits employment of children in 13 occupations and 57 processes

contained in Part A & B of the Schedule to the Act (Section 3).

 Under the Act, a Technical Advisory Committee is constituted to advice for inclusion

of further occupations & processes in the Schedule.

 The Act regulates the condition of employment's in all occupations and processes not

prohibited under the Act (Part III).

 Any person who employs any child in contravention of the provisions of section 3 of

the Act is liable for punishment with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less

than three months but which may extend to one year or with fine which shall not be

less than Rs 10,000 but which may extend to Rs 20,000 or both. ((Section 14).

 The Central and the State Governments enforce the provisions of the Act in their

respective spheres.

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