The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016, ANI reported. Despite some opposition, it was cleared by the Rajya Sabha by a voice vote on July 20, during the ongoing Monsoon Session of Parliament.
The Bill brings in a number of changes to the law from 1986. While it continues to prohibit children below 14 years to be employed in any "profession", it allows them to take part in "home-based work", such as helping their families in forests and fields. The amendment also defines children between the ages of 14 and 18 as "adolescents" and permits them to be employed in any profession besides the "hazardous occupations and processes" listed in the 1986 law.
In the Rajya Sabha, a few Opposition members had pointed out what could be considered loopholes. Trinamool Congress leader Vivek Gupta had said agriculture was not deemed hazardous under the law, but the use of chemicals made it harmful. He had argued that employing children in family businesses of beedi-making and carpet weaving also put them at risk.