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Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour

Why is it in the news?

  • The 52nd report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labor, recently presented in Parliament, underscores persistent gaps in achieving the goal of eradicating child labor by 2025.
  • It emphasizes the need for addressing challenges to fulfill the commitment to eliminating child labor.

Observations by the Committee

  • The committee notes discrepancies in the definition of a ‘child’ across different legislations. For instance, the Child and Adolescent Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 (CALPRA) defines a child as someone between 14-18 years, while the Right to Education Act defines it as 6-14 years.
  • There is inconsistency in how employing children is classified as an offense. The CALPRA Act considers it a cognizable offense, whereas the Juvenile Justice Act treats it as non-cognizable, leading to ambiguity and delays in justice for affected children.

Key Suggestions/Recommendations

  • The committee recommends bringing uniformity in the definition of a ‘child’ under various laws to avoid confusion and ensure consistency in legal frameworks.
  • Proposes removing hazardous occupations from the list of approved jobs and processes for adolescents, promoting safer work environments.
  • Recommends incorporating stricter punishments for offenders, including measures like license cancellation, property attachment, and a significant increase in fines.
  • Suggests holding not only the direct employer accountable but also the principal employer and traffickers involved in child labour deployment.
  • Advocates for the formulation of guidelines for the proper utilization of funds collected as fines from employers engaged in child labour.
  • Recommends the establishment of a district-level fund to provide immediate relief and rehabilitation for child labourers, recognizing the need for comprehensive support.
  • Proposes the inclusion of provisions in the CALPRA Act to take action against police officials who fail to register FIRs, aligning with similar provisions in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.
  • Recommends the creation of a National Level Child Tracking Mechanism to facilitate coordination among states and the Centre, enhancing efforts to address and prevent child labor effectively.

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