The Child Labour Prohibition Act, Amendment 2016

The title is as boring and as useless as the act itself. The Child Labour Prohibition Act hit the headlines on 21st July, 2016. This happened when the Bombay High Court issued orders of reformation of a three decade old act. okay okay, too much inflow of information. After all, we’re humans not a 500 GB hard disk. Ha! Lame joke alert.

So, Let’s Take It All Slow

So, all the bhais and jaans, let me explain you the mechanism of the revisited law by the government of the bearded man, the “he who must not be named”. Lame joke alert again! Okay, so moving on. Let me take you to a flashback to the mid- 1980s. To be more precise, let’s go to the year 1986.

1986 saw many reforms in the political cadre. There were a number of laws trying to breathe in our constitution. With every law trying to make its way through a bundle of some hundred thousand pages of mediocre shit. Also known as the “longest constitution ever”, we happily boast about, where in reality only a few things are worth noticing.

Not that I disrespect any of the freedom fighters, or any of the person who had a hand in formulating the constitution. But shit is shit whether it’s out of some celebrity or any normal human being. No Offense. The one law that we are talking about in this article is The Child Labour Prohibition Law.

The Child Labour Prohibition law came into being with 83 jobs designated as hazardous and a punishable offence, if designated to children. Let’s come to 2016 and see what the current situation has in store for us. The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (abbreviated as the UNICEF) says that out of roughly 168 million children working as labour across the world, India offers 10.3 million children labour. This amounts to 6.6% of the entire child labour population. You may think that “6.6% is a very small figure”. But if you look at the stats, the amount of child labour is too much, to go unnoticed.

Further, here are some statistics to enhance your information.

While in 1986,the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) valuation of India was 336 billion dollars. It has now increased by eight times and has become 2.4 trillion dollars. And yet, the population has only just doubled. This comes from the unequal distribution of the wealth in various sections of the society. Where middle class man describes as “Baap ka paisa hai kya?”, a rich man describes as “Haan hai”. Lame joke alert #3!

The fact that GDP holds an importance here is that the rich are becoming richer and poor are becoming poorer. Hence, the economically not well-off families push the kids into darkness and ignorance of child labour. Budhia Singh, a marathon runner was sold for only Rs.800 to a street peddler because his mother could not support him in a family with other 4 boys.

You must just as well wonder that why is it that this bill holds so much controversy. So, let me explain the cons of the bill which are clearly questionable. The bill describes kids below the age of 14 as children and above it as adolescents. Fairly normal, but there’s a catch which is that kids below the age of 14 are clearly banned against doing any kind of jobs in any sector. But kids above 14 and below 18 can work as a help to the family. This could definitely zero in on the exploitation of kids whether at the hands of their own family. Or at the hands of other people who claim to be their family. Also, the fact that the list of the “hazardous jobs” which originally contained 83 such jobs has been cut down to only 3.

These are:

(1) Mines.
(2) Inflammable substances or explosives.
(3) Hazardous process.

Explanation.—For the purposes of this Schedule, “hazardous process” has the meaning assigned to it in clause (cb) of the Factories Act, 1948.

The financial/economical condition of any household is not the responsibility of any child, no matter what. So why should the child pay for something he has not even done in the first place? Why should a child even after coming home from school or any vacation work or be exploited and not study or play?

The government should understand that by doing this they have not helped the families in India thrive. But now they have put India in the same pothole the British created, in the first place. You never know that there might be some aspiring student who could one day come to light and help India come out of  any kind of socio- economic crisis.

Adding a cherry on the top doesn’t alter the taste of a cake. In the same way revisiting a law and then completely changing it in the name of humanitarian good would do no good until it’s done correctly.

Until such a thought drops into certain minds, we can only hope and pray that we can get homo sapiens to run our country and not chomo sapiens!

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