Child Labour is an outcome of various socio-economic problems such as poverty, economic backwardness and illiteracy. The Central Government has taken cognizance of the practice of child labour still going on in various parts of the country in spite of a ban on it and is committed to eradicate the problem of child labour from all parts of the country.
According to District Project Societies set up under the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme, a total number of 320488 children were rescued from all forms of child labour, and were rehabilitated and mainstreamed to formal education system during the last five years.
For elimination of child labour, the Government has enacted the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016 which came into force w.e.f. 1.9.2016. The Amendment Act inter alia provides for complete prohibition of work or employment of children below 14 years in any occupation and process and prohibition of adolescents in the age group of 14 to 18 years in hazardous occupations and processes. The Amendment Act also provides stricter punishment for employers for violation of the Act and has made the offence as cognizable.
The Government is also implementing the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme since 1988 for rehabilitation of child labour. Under the NCLP Scheme, children in the age group of 9-14 years are rescued/withdrawn from work and enrolled in the NCLP Special Training Centres, where they are provided with bridge education, vocational training, mid-day meal, stipend, health care, etc. before being mainstreamed into formal education system. Children in the age group of 5-8 years are directly linked to the formal education system through a close coordination with the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). To ensure effective enforcement of the provisions of the Child Labour Act and smooth implementation of the National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme, a separate online portal PENCIL (Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour) has been launched w.e.f. 26.9.2017.
As per Section 2 (14) (ii) of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) act, 2015 (JJ Act), a child who is found living in contravention of labour laws for the time being in force is included as a ‘child in need of care and protection’, the JJ Act, 2015 mandates a security net of service delivery structures to provide institutional and non-institutional care to these children. The primary responsibility of execution of the Act, as such, lies with the State/UTs.
Ministry of Women and Child Development is implementing ‘Child Protection Services’ (CPS) (erstwhile Integrated Child Protection Scheme), for care, protection, rehabilitation and reintegration of children in difficult circumstances. Under CPS, financial assistance is provided to State Governments/UT Administrations, for, inter alia, undertaking a situational analysis of children in difficult circumstances, for setting up and maintenance of various types of Child Care Institutions (CCIs).