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India today ratified core International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions 138 and 182 on Child Labour to fight against the menace and achieve the objective of child labour-free nation. "It is a historic moment for India as we are going to take another giant step to affirm our commitment to a child labour-free India by ratifying the two Core Conventions of International Labour Organisation (ILO) -- Convention 138 regarding admission of age to employment, and Convention 182 regarding worst forms of Child Labour", Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said at the sidelines of an event held in Geneva at the ILO Conference, 2017, a statement said. According to the statement, at the event, Instruments of Ratification were handed over by India to ILO. With ratification of these two core ILO conventions, India has ratified 6 out of 8 core ILO conventions. The other four core ILO ratified conventions by India relates to abolition of forced labour, equal remuneration, no discrimination between men and women in employment and occupation. The worst forms of child labour prohibited under Convention 182 are all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict. It also prohibits use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances. It also prohibits the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties. It also prohibits work which, by its nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals of children. India has now also adopted the ILO Convention 138 that prescribes the minimum age of employment for children, which is set as 14 years or such age as may be specified in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, whichever is more. Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi has said that India's decision for ratification of Convention 182 and Convention 138 was "long overdue" in providing justice to the country's children. "After the total prohibition of child labour, this is yet another important step in protecting all our children from exploitation and abuse.
It now remains a collective responsibility of everyone to do their bit to remove the scourge of child labour from the country," Satyarthi said. The minister said that India has been working in a concerted manner to eliminate child labour from the country by following a multi-pronged strategy by including both stringent legislative and project-based approach. A landmark step in the endeavour to have a child labour free society was the enactment of the Child labour (Prohibition and Prevention) amendment Act, 2016 in August 2016 that provides for complete prohibition on employment of children below 14 years in all occupations and processes and prohibits employment of adolescents (14-18 years) in hazardous occupations and processes. The age of admission to employment has been linked to the age of compulsory education under Right to Education Act (RTE), 2009. The minister also informed that besides the amendment in the Act, India has also notified the amendment in the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Central Rules after extensive consultation with the stakeholders. The Rules for the first time provide broad and specific framework for prevention, prohibition, rescue and rehabilitation of child and adolescent workers. The minister further informed that India was in the process of providing a digital platform 'PENCIL' which has components ensuring enforcement of the Act, mechanism for redressal of complaints, child tracking system and a monitoring mechanism. This platform would integrate all the State Governments with the Central Government for effective coordination and convergence of various measures being taken for compliance of the Act.
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