2012 saw govt nod for complete ban on child labour below 14

Child labour

Clearing of a proposal to put a complete ban on employing a child below 14 years was the major highlight of the Labour and Employment Ministry in 2012 during which it remained largely occupied with labour unrest and general strikes.

The ban on child labour, contravening of which would land one with a three-year jail term, was cleared by the Cabinet in August as it gave its nod to amend the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986. The amendment also seeks a blanket ban on employing children below 18 years in hazardous industries like mining.

At present children under the age of 14 years are prohibited from employment only in hazardous industry.

The move came even as Labour and Employment Minister Mallikarjun Kharge underlined that lack of proper implementation of labour laws was leading to simmering discontentment among the working class.

The huge difference in wages between regular and contract workers for example, he said, was leading to labour unrest in several states and cited the violence in Maruti Suzuki plant to be one such instance.

In July, violence broke out at the Maruti Suzuki plant in Manesar following an alleged scuffle between a worker and a supervisor. A general manager was killed in the incident and 100 others were injured. The company declared a lockout at the plant which was lifted a month later.

According to the Ministry, the Contract Labour Act is expected to be placed before Cabinet for amendment to address the issue of wage disparity among the contract and regular workers.

The government in November gave its nod to the amendments in the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 and Building and Other Construction Workers' Welfare Cess Act, 1996. The move is aimed at giving more teeth to two laws dealing with welfare of construction workers help speedy implementation of these acts by the central and the state governments.

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