Labour Ministry on Thursday expressed serious concern over comments from some organisations on certain provisions of the Child Labour Bill that prohibits employment of children below 14 years, terming these as "ill-informed".
"Such comments were ill-informed and misleading, reflecting inadequate understanding of the provisions and implications of the original the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 and of the Amendment Bill, 2016," the Ministry said in a press statement.
Earlier this week, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016, was passed by the Parliament.
The ministry asserted that the Amendment Bill clearly seeks to protect the Right to Education for those below 14 years by fixing defective provisions in the original Act, contrary to comments that it affects schooling and learning of poor children.
In addition, the Amendment Bill, 2016, provides for first-time protection for adolescents of 14-18 years.
"The comments by some organisations as reported in some sections of the media on some provisions of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2016 passed by the Parliament this week were far from the truth and were based on inadequate understanding of the provisions and implications of the original Act of 1986 and the Amendment Bill, 2016," the ministry said.
Such comments could mislead people and need to be avoided.
"Those comments have created an impression that the Amendment Bill allows first time employment of children below 14 years in family enterprises while no such provision was there in the original Act of 1986, adversely impacting their schooling and learning," it said.
The ministry clarified that the Section (3) of the original Act of 1986 while prohibiting employment of children in certain occupations provides clearly that nothing in this section shall apply to any workshop wherein any process is carried on by the occupier (owner) with the aid of his family or any school established by or receiving assistance or recognition from the government.
"This goes to prove that the original Act of 1986 clearly allowed children to be employed or engaged in all kinds of family enterprises without any restrictions," the ministry added.
Earlier in the day, the UN Children's Fund has voiced concern over the amended Child Labour Bill in India, saying it could legitimise family work and further disadvantage children from poor families.
The UN programme urged removal of certain provisions of the Bill and advocated establishing a robust monitoring mechanism with a thorough list of hazardous occupations for a stronger child protection framework.