How the Family Got in the Way of an Outright Ban on Child Labor in India – India Real Time – WSJ

The government approved a set of amendments to India’s child labor law last week to allow children under 14 years of age to work in non-hazardous family enterprises, some entertainment industries and sport so long as they work after school or during vacations.

Though it drew the line at allowing children to work in the circus, the cabinet decision also drew a lot of criticism from child rights activists because it rowed back on a plan to outlaw all child labor for those below age 14.

The Bharatiya Janata Party–led cabinet said that a total ban–as proposed in the Child Labor Amendment Bill 2012 — had to be balanced against the need to maintain the country’s social fabric and bearing in mind the socio-economic conditions.

“In a large number of families, children help their parents in their occupations like agriculture, artisanship etc. and while helping the parents, children also learn the basics of occupations,” the government said.

Some of the amendments were welcomed by child rights campaigners. For instance, under the changes, anyone aged 14 to 18 would be protected by law from hazardous occupations and punishments for employing children illegally would be strengthened.

A fund to help support children rescued from illegal child labor also fell into the proposed amendments.

via How the Family Got in the Way of an Outright Ban on Child Labor in India – India Real Time – WSJ.

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