Child Labour Policy in India
There are specific clauses in the draft of Indian constitution dated 26th January 1950, about the child labor policy in India. These are conveyed through different articles in the Fundamental rights and the Directive Principles of the State Policy. They lay down four specific policy rules regarding child labor.
They are as following:- 1) ( Article 14) No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.
2) Article 39-E) The state shall direct its policy towards securing that the health and strength of workers, men and women and the tender age of children are not abused and that they are not forced by economic necessity to enter vocations unsuited to there are and strength.
3) ( Article 39-f ) Children shall be given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth shall be protected against moral and material abandonment.
4) (Article 45 ) The state shall endeavor to provide within a period of ten years from the commencement of the constitution for free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen years. It was also decided that both the Union government and the State government could legislate on matters concerning child labor. Various legislative initiatives were also taken in this regard at both the State and Union level.
The main legislative measures at the national level are The Child Labor Prohibition and Regulation Act -1986 and The Factories Act -1948. The first act was categorical in prohibiting the employment of children below fourteen years of age, and identified 57 processes and 13 occupations which were considered dangerous to the health and lives of children. The details of these occupations and processes are listed in the schedule to the said Act.
The factories act again prohibits the employment of children less than fourteen years of age. However an adolescent aged between 15 and 18 can be recruited for factory employment only after securing a fitness certificate from a medical doctor who is authorized. The Act proceeds to prescribe only four and and hour’s work period per day for children between 14 and 18 years. Children are also not allowed to work in night shifts.
Moreover, in the year 1996 the Supreme Court of India came out with a judgment in court that directed the State and Union government to make a list of all children embroiled in hazardous occupations and processes. They were then told to pull them out of work and asked to provide them with proper education of quality. The judiciary also laid down that Child Labor and Welfare Fund is set up. The contribution for this was to be received from employers who contravened the Child Labor Act.
India is also a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ILO Abolition of Forced Convention – No 105 and ILO Forced labor Convention – No. 29. A National Labor Policy was also adopted in the year 1987 in accordance with India’s development strategies and aims. The National Policy was designed to reinforce the directive principles of state policy in the Indian constitution.