The present child labour law is obsolete and contradictory to Right to Education and Juvenile Justice Act. It does not prohibit all forms of child labour.
Nobel peace prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi has volunteered to help the newly bifurcated states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in tackling exploitation of children.
Referring to both the states as a destination of child trafficking, he said that he was ready to work with the new state governments to formulate guidelines that will help prioritise child rights.
Mr. Satyarthi, who interacted with press persons here on Friday, said that the Nobel prize, in a way had helped in changing the outlook towards childhood exploitation. “There is more awareness now and many are for proactive approach towards issues concerning children,” he said. He also lauded some of the recent court judgements and government action that seemed very positive towards protecting children’s rights.
Change Child Labour Act
The founder of the NGO, Bachpan Bachao Andolan was critical of the existing Child Labour Act and hoped that it would be amended in the upcoming Parliament session.
“The present child labour law is obsolete and contradictory to Right to Education and Juvenile Justice Act. It does not prohibit all forms of child labour but only hazardous forms. Twenty per cent of the child labour is still not covered. This is where the paradox lies because the RTE makes it mandatory education till 14 years and Juvenile Justice Act says complete protection till the age of 18 years. We want the new child labour laws to ban all forms of labour till age 14 and sync it with the existing laws,” he felt.
Informing that there were about 168 million children globally who are victims of exploitation including prostitution, he reminded that Indians had a moral responsibility towards the issue as “children are still being sold for less than cattle in the country to be employed as domestic help or in commercial establishments.”
Mr. Satyarthi recollected his journey from a magazine writer to a globally recognised child activist by sharing some of his memorable incidents.
Talking about his engagement with the Millennium Development Goals of United Nations, he said that he would strive to end child labour by associating with the initiative.Hindu