Last Friday, 11th May 2012, The Union Government Minister for Labour and Employment of India announced the future formation of a new law - "CHILD LABOUR ABOLITION ACT" – to establish a complete ban on Child Labour and a National policy on rehabilitation of child labourers. This new act will go a long way in the elimination of child labour and trafficking, if enforced properly.
This outcome is a direct result of BBA’s sustained effort in the last 30 years. More importantly, the Government of India has accepted all BBA’s demands of the Child Labour Free India Campaign, including making child labour a punishable offence (to enable the Police to act), putting accountability systems in place for proper implementation of the laws and of course, a complete ban on employment till the age of 14 along with a ban on labour till the age of 18 in hazardous occupations and processes.
Labour minister Mallikarjun Kharge announced the formation of the new law last Friday while inaugurating a national consultation on child labour, organised by BBA and the Global March Against Child Labour. “We are paving the way for a Child Labour Abolition Act and are examining the provision to ensure that all children below 18 years are prohibited from hazardous work”, said Kharge. He reiterated the government’s commitment to provide children their rights.
“India’s commitment to the cause of children is as old as its civilization. All children must have an equal right, regardless of their background”, said the labour minister. “For the right to education to be successful, child labour must be completely eradicated, and all stakeholders must work together to make this possible”, he added.
Education has both prevention and curative aspects in relation to eradication of child labour. Child labour cannot be abolished unless all children are in schools, and the right to education cannot be realized in its fullest sense till children are no longer working in farms and fields. Education empowers children not only by providing them literacy but also knowledge of the rights and duties.
Last Friday was a very important day for the progress in eradicating child labour and child slavery in India. KidsRights congratulates BBA, Global March Against Child Labour and everyone who put all his efforts in to achieve this fact!