Child labour law: CPI(M) slams govt for pushing 'retrograde' changes

The amendments proposed by the Centre to allow employment of children below 14 years in 'non- hazardous' family enterprises will lead to "rampant" use of child labour as it is impossible to regulate such businesses, CPI(M) on Saturday claimed as it slammed the "retrograde" move.

New Delhi: The amendments proposed by the Centre to allow employment of children below 14 years in 'non- hazardous' family enterprises will lead to "rampant" use of child labour as it is impossible to regulate such businesses, CPI(M) on Saturday claimed as it slammed the "retrograde" move.

Charging that the proposed amendments will legalise the exploitation of children, the party said, "Narendra Modi government's economic reforms promote 'outsourcing'. Many developed industries farm out work to contractors who further farm out work to families who work round the clock at exploitative rates.

"This is in addition to other trades such as bidi making, agarbattis, carpet weaving, etc., where children are forced to work. Since it is impossible to regulate 'family enterprises', such an amendment will open the floodgates to the rampant use of child labour."

The party claimed that the proposed amendments have been mooted in the wake of "severe" cuts in budgetary allocations for children's development. It further alleged that the step exposes the Centre's "callous" approach towards the rights of children.

With the government citing the country's "social fabric and socio-economic conditions" while proposing the said amendments, CPI(M) said that to use "poverty and social fabric of India" to justify use of child labour is "to punish children for their poverty".

"People expected this Modi government to take meaningful measures to ameliorate growing poverty among the majority of our people," the party said while calling upon "democratic- minded" citizens to come together to force the government to withdraw the "anti-child" amendment.

In major changes to the child labour law, the Cabinet on May 13 approved the employment of children below 14 years in 'non-hazardous' family enterprises, entertainment industry and sporting events after school hours while relaxing the penal action against the parents.