Children are future citizens of the nation, and their adequate development is the country’s top priority. Unfortunately, child labour engulfs children all over the world. The planet is home to 1.2 billion people aged 10-19 years. However, despite its challenge in various forms, the statistics indicate differences in the prevalence of child labour worldwide and the statistical data on child labour are very troubling. It is estimated that there are 186 million child labourers worldwide. India’s national census of 2001 put the total number of child labourers aged 5–14 at 12.6 million.
There is a proposal to curb child labour, but the lack of enforcement of labour laws perpetuates child labour. This is expressed in the difference in the minimum age limit for various forms of jobs. The International Labor Office estimates that children work the longest hours and are the lowest paid of all employees. In India, the Child Labor Act 1986 and the Rules of Procedure state that no child shall be employed or allowed to work in any of the occupations set out in Part A of the Schedule or in any workshop where any of the processes set out in Part B of the Schedule is carried out. For this reason, “kid” means a person who has not completed his or her 14th year of age. The Act forbids the employment of children in some specified dangerous occupations and processes and controls working conditions in other occupations. The list of hazardous occupations and processes is being increasingly extended on the recommendation of the Child Labor Technical Advisory Committee formed under the Act.
Chhattisgarh introduced various Acts and one of them is The Chhattisgarh Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation ) Rules, 1993. In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 18 of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 (No. 61 of 1986), the same having been previously published as required by sub-section (1) of Section 18 of the said Act, the State Government, after having considered the objections and suggestions, hereby makes the following rules, namely:
1. Short title and commencement (1) These rules may be called the Chhattisgarh Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Rules, 1993. (2) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the ‘Chhattisgarh Gazette’.
2. Definitions In these rules, unless the context otherwise requires, (a) ‘Act’ means the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 (No. 61 of 1986); (b) ‘Form’ means a form appended to these rules; (c) ‘Register’ means the register required to be maintained under Section 11 of the Act; (d) ‘Schedule’ means the Schedule appended to the Act; (e) ‘Section’ means a Section of the Act; (f) The expression ‘Young Person’ shall have the same meaning assigned to it in the Factories Act, 1948 (Act No. 63 of 1948).
3. (1) Every occupier of an establishment shall maintain a register in respect of children employed or permitted to work in Form ‘A’. (2) The register shall be maintained on yearly basis and the same shall be retained by the employer for a period of three years after the date of the last entry made therein.
4. Certificate of age (1) All young persons in employment or seeking employment in any of the occupations mentioned in part ‘A’ of the Schedule or in any workshop wherein any of the processes mentioned in part ‘B’ of the Schedule is carried on, shall produce a certificate of age from the appropriate medical authority, wherever required to do so by an Inspector. (2) The appropriate ‘Medical Authority’ for the purpose of sub-rule (1) shall be a Government Medical Doctor not below the rank of an ‘Assistant Surgeon’ of a District or a regular Doctor of an equivalent rank employed in Employees State Insurance dispensaries or hospitals. (3) The certificate of age referred to in sub-rule (1) shall be issued in Form ‘B’. (4) Fee payable to the Medical Authority for issuing such certificate shall be the same as prescribed by the State Government for their medical boards. (5) Any fee payable to the Medical Authority shall be paid by the employer of the child whose age is under question.
Also, Chhattisgarh government on 2013 decided to set up a dedicated cell to conduct a survey of child and bonded labourers in every district of the state and take steps for their rehabilitation.
The Chief Secretary has directed that special measures should be undertaken for proper rehabilitation of rescued child and bonded labourers.
Even rescued bonded labourers will be provided ‘Antyodaya’ ration cards and vocational training for skill development. The Chief Secretary also ordered uploading of the recent survey on child and bonded labourers on the state website and suggested invoking of tracking system to monitor such labourers.
In the meeting, he also emphasised that schools be opened for child labourers with the support of NGOs across the state.
The State Women and Child Development department is already running such institutions in nearly 12 districts of the state.
Expressing concern over girls’ trafficking through placement agencies, Kumar has instructed Home department officials to undertake proper action to prevent the menace.