Save the Children welcomes much awaited Cabinet approval to the ban against all forms of child labour below the age of 14 years.
Save the Children whole heartedly welcomes the government’s decision to ban all forms of child labour below the age of 14 . Save the Children has been actively campaigning for a total ban against all forms of child labour for children up to the age of 14, in order to both protect children from the hazards of work, as well as ensure all children of India get an elementary schooling as enshrined in the Constitution of India. It is a historic decision in the right direction and gives child rights groups a lot of encouragement in their efforts to make India a child-labour free country. The amendment is also in line with the International Labour Organization (ILO)'s convention on child labour that seeks to provide minimum age of employment and says that no children below the age of 14 should be employed and the minimum age should be in line with the minimum age of schooling.
Currently, 8.1 million children are out of school, 7 million children are out-of-school in rural areas whereas 1.1million children remain out-of-school in urban areas. Almost all children out of school are engaged in work of one form or up to 124years, whether fields or in homes. . The decision to ban all forms of child labour below 14 years will also therefore greatly strengthen the enforcement of the Right to Education Act, 2009 which mandates free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of 6-14 years.
“While this is indeed a historic step in the battle against child labour, we cannot rest here , we will need to ensure that we focus on the implementation of the law. We must also ensure that our child protection mechanisms like the Integrated Child Protection Scheme and bodies like the NCPCR and CWC are strengthened and provided full support to by the government, and that schools are equipped to meet the needs of working children’’.