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'Child labour bill defeating purpose'

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  13 Jun 2015 12:00 AM GMT

From Staff Correspondent

Shillong, June 12: The Shillong based North East Regiol Domestic Workers Movement has come out strongly against the amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012 approved by the Union Cabinet and said that they could reverse all the work done in the field of child rights.

Convener of the movement Wanpynhun Kharsyntiew said the bill tantamount to defeating the purpose of “No to Child labour and Yes to quality education”.

Kharsyntiew paraded more than 20-odd children who shared their views on how they have been aiding their mothers in domestic help and rrated tales of others who have been working in different households due to fincial compulsions.

She said that there are 600-odd children under the age of 14 who are working as domestic helps in Shillong city.

While appreciating the attempts of the government to ban child labour in hazardous industries, the child rights activist criticised the proposed amendment which makes an exception for children aged below 14 to work in family enterprises and the audio-visual entertainment industry if it does not interfere with their education.

“When children come home from school, they need to rest, play, do their homework and in general enjoy their delights of carefree childhood. Pushing them to spend these post-school hours, weekends and holidays laboring in farms, shops, tea stalls, dhabas, embroidery or weaving, cleaning dishes and sweeping floors etc will only hamper their healthy childhood,” stated Kharsyntiew.

She further said, while it is normal that the children help their parents after their school hours, legalizing the work will open the door to exploitation of child labour.

She said such a law will adversely affect girl children who are often forced into domestic work, denying the joys of childhood. The children who were paraded before the media on Friday rrated their tales of woes, right from being ill-treated in the house that they stay to the sorrowful journey of aiding their parents yearning for a daily living. However, some of those who spoke to newsmen have even reached the VIII standard in school.

The NERDWM questioned those who drafted the legislation by asking “are those people who wanted to amend the 1986 law ready to send their children to school and also to make them work”.

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