The Wall Street Journal quotes a staffer from CRS India in an article in the August 29 edition, A Move That Could Help Reduce Child Labor, on a proposal that would ban the employment of anyone under the age of 14.
Campaigners for the abolition of child labor in India welcomed a Cabinet decision Tuesday which would ban the employment of children under the age of 14.
The government’s ministers called on Parliament to pass an amendment to the Child Labour Act 1986, a law which, until now, has allowed children below 14 to be involved in “non-hazardous” work.
The amendment, if passed, would impose a maximum three-year jail term and 50,000-rupee fine for anyone employing a child under the age of 14 in any kind of work or engaging under-18s in hazardous work.
The change would be the most significant development in India’s child labor laws since the introduction of a partial ban in 1986, according to activists working for an end to the practice.
The Journal turned to CRS staff for an on-the-ground perspective.
Cassie Dummett, head of programming at Catholic Relief Services India, said that a change to the law would strengthen the hand of those working at the grass roots to eradicate child labor.
“We support projects in rural and poor India and are dealing with the police and Panchayats” or village councils, said Ms. Dummett. “If we are able to say to them, ‘This is the law, no child under 14 should be working’ it would be very useful.”