'Widen scope of RTE Act'
01st June 2013 06:53 AM
The scope of the Right to Education (RTE) Act should be widened to include those up to 18 years of age under the classification of ‘children’ in order to effectively put an end to child labour, a prominent child rights NGO said here on Thursday.
During a State-level consultation on the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2012, organised by Sama Kalvi Iyakkam (SKI), the activists said, “The proposed Bill categorising those below the age of 14 years as children and those above 14 years but under 18 years as adolescents, violates India’s ratification of the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and its own Constitution.”
A Ambrose, Advocacy Co-ordinator of SKI, said, “The amendment Bill attempts to align with that of the RTE Act but weakens the constitutional commitment of RTE to ensure free and compulsory education to all children up to 14 years by permitting them to work at home after school hours in a family setup.” “Although the Bill prohibits employment of children below 14 years in certain occupations and processes, it permits the same if those processes are carried out within a family set-up,” he said.
He further said that the bill was restricted to prohibiting only three hazardous sectors, while the detailed occupations and processes that were found in the principle Act, that is the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 had been ignored.
This cleared the way for employers to engage children below 14 years of age, who were earlier prohibited from being employed in 65 process and 18 occupations.
The proposed Bill was introduced in Rajya Sabha on December 4, 2012 and is pending before the Standing Committee till date. The Bill is expected to come up in the forthcoming sessions.