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India gets one step closer to a strong anti-child labour law

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour Submits Report on Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012

The 13th of December, 2013 marked a significant milestone for child rights organisations in India when the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour submitted its report on the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012.

This is a crucial step by the Government towards ending child labour following more than a decade of sustained efforts by Global March Against Child Labour and its partner organisations to pursue complete abolition of child labour in India. The amendments proposed on the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012 by Global March have also been included by the committee in its report that was tabled in the Parliament.

Through its Child Labour Free India Campaign, Global March and its partner organisation, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) (Save the Childhood Movement) had advocated for strong anti-child labour legislations and child-friendly policies resulting in the Union cabinet of India putting a blanket ban on employing any child below 18 years in hazardous occupation and banning all forms of child labour for children till 14 years of age. This, in turn is a noteworthy step towards enforcing the Right to Education Act, 2009 which mandates free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of 6-14 years.

Global March was  invited by the the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour to depose on 29th May, 2013. Global March along with partner organisation BBA had undertaken concerted policy advocacy initiatives which included one on one meetings with the parliamentarians including  leader of the opposition and leaders of various political parties. Letters were written to Prime Minister of India and Chairperson of the ruling coalition seeking their intervention in expediting the passage of the bill in the Parliament. Additionally multiple roundtable consultations were held in various states as well as series of national level consultations were convened for consensus building of the stakeholders like government agencies, trade unions, state commissions for protection of child rights, teachers' associations and child rights organisations for a strong child labour law.

Global March and partner organisations would continue advocating for an effective bill against child labour which when enacted as a law would pave way for complete eradication of child labour from India.