The Hindu – India ratifies core conventions to clamp down on child labour

International Labour Organisation conventions relate to the worst forms of child labour, and admission of age to employment

Special Correspondent

New Delhi, 13 June 2017. In a historic move, India on Tuesday ratified two core Conventions of International Labour Organisation (ILO) on child labour, a global commitment to end the worst form of child labour and to ensure minimum basic education for children.

Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya handed over the Instruments of Ratification to the ILO in Geneva as a part of the ceremony.

“It is a historic moment for India as we are going to take another giant step to affirm our commitment for a child labour-free India by ratifying the two Core Conventions of International Labour Organization (ILO), Convention 138 regarding admission of age to employment and Convention 182 regarding worst forms of child labour,” Mr. Dattatreya said on the sidelines of the International Labour Conference 2017 in Geneva.

The Central government had enacted a new law, Child labour (Prohibition and Prevention) Amendment Act, 2016, banning employment of children below 14 years of age in all occupations and processes. It further prohibits employment of adolescents (14-18 years of age) in hazardous occupations.

However, children were allowed to “help” families in running their domestic enterprises only after school hours.

The new law linked the age of employment for children to the age of compulsory education under Right to Education Act (RTE), 2009.

“From today, Convention 182 will cover more than 99 percent of the world’s children and the coverage of Convention 138 will leap from approximately 60 percent to almost 80 percent,” ILO Director General Guy Ryder said at the Geneva event.

With ratification of the two core ILO conventions, India has ratified six out of eight core ILO conventions. Four other conventions were related to abolition of forced labour, equal remuneration and no discrimination between men and women in employment and occupation.

Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi had told The Hindu last week that the Central government’s move to ratify ILO Conventions on child labour will ensure compliance of the government’s new law.

“Countries which ratify any of the ILO conventions have to go through a periodical reporting system every four years. So the government has to prove they are making progress,” Mr. Satyarthi had said.


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