AIDWA expresses its strong objections to the amendments to the Child Labour Prohibition Act proposed by the Modi Government, in the name of encouraging “learning at home” and “entrepreneurship”. Banning of children’s employment in all commercial enterprises and not just hazardous ones has been a long-standing demand of all democratic forces in the country.

It is quite clear that learning the family occupation through close and continuous association at home is quite different from children contributing to the general pool of labour power in the market. Child labour pushes down the general level of wages to the benefit of employers, and also leads to the devious exploitation of children, depriving them of learning and playtime.

Further, the inherent dangers of perpetuating caste based occupations cannot be ruled out. As for entertainment industry, children are the worst exploited, and not just in the ‘circus’. At the higher end, the ambition of parents to make a ‘star’ of the child leads to children being herded into studios for long hours to provide commercial entertainment to others, while at the low end it leads to hard labour for long hours, child migration and child trafficking.
Using children for commercial purposes in any industry

should therefore be banned both in order to protect childhood and also for the purpose of universalizing formal education. However, this needs to be supplemented by full and proper implementation of the RTE Act and the strengthening of the public education system through appropriate allocation of government funds, without which the ban can exist only on paper.

We therefore also demand that reduction of funds in budgetary allocation for education must be forthwith reversed and all infrastructural support must be provided by the government to universalize education.
(Malini Bhattacharya) (Jagmati Sangwan)
President General Secretary