India has ratified two key global conventions for combating child labour as a step towards creating full respect for fundamental rights at work.
India has deposited the instruments of ratification of the two fundamental ILO Conventions with the International Labour Office (ILO). The two key conventions are related to the elimination of child labour- the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No 138) and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182).
India has become the 170th member of ILO to ratify the Convention No. 138, which requires the member parties to set a minimum age under which no one should be employed in any occupation, except for light work and artistic performances.
India has become the 181st member of ILO to ratify Convention No 182 which requires state parties to prohibit and eliminate worst forms of child labour, including slavery, forced labour and trafficking; the use of children in armed conflict; the use of a child for prostitution, pornography and in illicit activities such as drug trafficking; and hazardous work.
The elimination of Child Labour from the country is also essential to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The ratification of these conventions will help in achieving Goal 8 of the sustainable development goals which aims at complete eradication of child labour by 2025 and calls for prohibition and elimination of its worst forms.
The government has recently amended the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 which came into effect in September 2016. This amendment prohibits employment of children below 14 years in any occupation or process. It also prohibits the employment of adolescents (14 to 18 years) in hazardous occupations and processes.
The government has also strengthened the National Child Labour Project. It is a rehabilitative scheme that provides bridge education and vocational training to adolescents.