Strict law against child labour sought

Only 57 occupations are notified under the relevant Act

From left : Director IIM-B Pankaj Chandra, Chairman of Bhoruka Power Corporation S N Agarwal , Chairperson National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Dr Shantha Sinha at the 36th foundation day lecture at IIM-B in Bangalore on Wednesday. DH Photo

She added that the law itself permitted child labour being practised and had notified only 57 occupations under the relevant Act.

Shantha Sinha delivered the 36th foundation day lecture at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB) on Wednesday. Addressing an audience composed of alumni, students, parents and media, Sinha said, “All unorganised sectors have shifted to the confines of homes and child labour has become invisible. The law allows child labour to be practised in the home of the child.” Further, she added that the maximum number of children who dropped out of school worked in the agriculture sector. Sinha, however, turned to an optimistic note when she hailed the Indian democracy and said that there is no other concept other than ‘government’ which can protect child rights. She also hailed the newly-enacted ‘Right to Education Act’ as a “great law” and a step in the right direction. “For the first time the compulsion of sending the children to school is on the state and not on parents.” She added that she was a product of state support and most people of her generation were “subsidised persons.”

Sinha also called the growing under-current of cynicism against the government and the perception of the state’s incapacity to deliver as dangerous. “It simply allows the state to abdicate itself of its responsibilities,” she said. She expressed hope that the graduates of IIMB, who she referred to as the best minds in India, would come together in nationalistic sentiment and protect children’s rights.

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