Posts tagged ‘United Nations General Assembly’


Parliament passes controversial child labour bill | Reuters

Parliament on Tuesday approved a controversial law that would allow children to work for family businesses, despite widespread concern by the United Nations and other rights advocates that it will push more children into labour.

A week after the bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha approved the measure that brings a raft of changes to a three-decade-old child labour prohibition law. The bill now goes for the President’s assent before becoming law.

The U.N. Children’s Agency (UNICEF) as well as many others have raised alarm over two particular amendments – permitting children to work for their families and reducing the number of banned professions for adolescents.

A 2015 report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) put the number of child workers in India ages 5 to 17 at 5.7 million, out of 168 million globally.

More than half of India’s child workers are employed in agriculture and more than a quarter in manufacturing – embroidering clothes, weaving carpets or making match sticks. Children also work in restaurants, shops and hotels and as domestic workers.The new legislation extends a ban on child labour under 14 to all sectors. Previously, only 18 hazardous occupations and 65 processes such as mining, gem cutting and cement manufacturing were outlawed.

It also stiffens penalties for those employing children, doubling jail terms to two years and increasing fines to 50,000 rupees ($740) from 20,000 rupees ($300).

While child rights groups have welcomed such changes, there has been concern over other amendments proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s government.

For example, children will be allowed to work in family businesses, outside of school hours and during holidays, and in entertainment and sports if it does not affect their education.

Also, children 15 to 18 will be permitted to work, except in mines and industries where they would be exposed to inflammable substances and hazardous processes.

The government says the exemptions aim to strike a balance between education and India’s economic reality, in which parents rely on children to help with farming or artisanal work to fight poverty or pass on a family trade.

“The purpose of this very act is that we should be able to practically implement it,” Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya told parliament. “That’s why we are giving some exemptions.”UNICEF had urged India to exclude family work from the proposed law and include an “exhaustive list” of hazardous occupations.

“To strengthen the Bill and provide a protective legal framework for children, UNICEF India strongly recommends the removal of ‘children helping in family enterprises’,” it said in a statement on Monday.

“This will protect children from being exploited in invisible forms of work, from trafficking and from boys and girls dropping out of school due to long hours of work,” it said.

Source: Parliament passes controversial child labour bill | Reuters


Modi Gets International Yoga Day – India Real Time – WSJ

It’s probably not a stretch to say that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi just scored a win at the United Nations.

The international body Thursday declared June 21 the International Day of Yoga, something Mr. Modi called for in September in his maiden address to the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

”By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change,” he told the group of nations at the time. ”Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day.”  On Thursday, 177 countries co-sponsored the resolution to establish an international day of yoga, Pakistan, India’s neighbor and long-time rival did not join in doing so. Malaysia is also not sponsoring the event. Islamic clerics sparked controversy in 2008 after issuing a fatwa against yoga, because of its association with Hinduism.

via Modi Gets International Yoga Day – India Real Time – WSJ.


Nawaz Sharif attempts mango diplomacy to placate Modi

Pakistan government keen on reigniting diplomatic ties with India

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday sent a package of special mangoes from his country through “official channels” to his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. This move is seen in Indian diplomatic circles as Pakistan’s initial attempt to rectify the damage caused by its High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s meetings with separatist leaders from Kashmir last month. In response to these meetings, India had cancelled foreign-secretary levels talks with Pakistan scheduled for August 25. Meanwhile, there is speculation that Modi and Sharif might conduct bilateral talks on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly summit in New York later this month.

via – News. Politics. Culture..


India and Pakistan Agree to Take Steps to Ease Tension –

India and Pakistan have agreed to take steps to reduce tension on the disputed part of their border, in a much-anticipated meeting that senior officials said made advances in the tense relations between these nuclear-armed neighbors.


Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif met in New York on Sunday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. The talks went better than expected, officials from both sides said.

A series of deadly events in the weeks leading to the discussions had heightened tensions in the countries’ already-fraught relationship.

Washington believes normalizing relations between India and Pakistan would help stabilize the region, as the hostility between the two countries feeds a detrimental competition for influence in Afghanistan. And Islamabad‘s concern over its eastern border with India prevents it from dealing with the al Qaeda-influenced militant groups that menace its northwest.

“There is clearly a desire from both sides to have a much better relationship,” said India’s national security adviser, Shivshankar Menon, briefing reporters after the meeting. “We have actually achieved a new stage; we do have some understanding on how to move forward.”

Earlier Pakistan Extends Olive Branch to India. Mr. Sharif, who came to power in June and has a history of pursuing peace with India, had asked for the meeting.

For his part, Mr. Singh has a record of defying hawks at home to reach out to Pakistan. But how far he can go is limited by elections his party faces in India next year. Any supposed softness on Pakistan will be exploited by his conservative opponents.

via India and Pakistan Agree to Take Steps to Ease Tension –

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