Harrowing Achilles’ Heel Of Glamour Milieu-Fault Finding And Panacea Of The New Child Labour Amendment Act, 2016
This Article was shortlisted as the top entries at Educoncours 1st National Journalism Competition
Childhood is the most carefree and untroubled period of one’s life. It is a crucial experience for everyone. In an ideal world, the youth of today receives proper schooling, guidance from their parents, and other cheerful memories. They are being stripped of this joy to earn money. Child labor has a demoralizing impression on naive minds. It is rightly said “Children have their whole lives to work a job; they only havea few years to be a child.” There is sky high fraction of children working in hazardous industries even though there are countless legislation and other provisions in the Indian Constitution[i] for the same. Child labor leads to indigence of demure souls.
The aftermath induces wreckage on child’s emotional, physical, mental health. They are coerced to work before they reach an appropriate age because of many reasons like:-
➢High demand ofunskilled labor
➢High cost ofeducation
Children are the most nursed assets of any country. They are the new flowers which have a powerful fragrance yet the improper understanding of parents is tearing down the assets of the country. “A child is meant to learn and not earn”. This wrongdoing can never be undone.
WHAT IS CHILD LABOR?
The term “child labor” is often defined as work that deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development.[ii]
It refers to work that:
- is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful to children; and
- interferes with their schooling by:
- depriving them of the opportunity to attend school;
- obliging them to leave school prematurely; or
- requiring them to attempt to combine school attendance with excessively long and heavy wor
Section 1 – Dark Underpinning of the Glittery Domain
The list of hazardous employments which forbid child labor are explicitly acknowledged. One industry that is not contemplated as recruiting child labor is the world of glamour i.e. television reality shows including dance, music, stand-up comedy, movies. The plethora of television shows employing children is on a rise. Why children working there are not considered laborers as they nimbly pass of as child artists? It is because apparently it is not deemed to be pernicious as status of parent’s is attached to it. There percussion of the upswing in the reality shows is that there is an ongoing rat race between entertainment channels and hence children are imprisoned in hamster cages. The world of glitz and gloss appeals to the public but underlying it is a treacherous pitfall. The various reasons for youngsters to be embraced in this glamour world are-
➢Fame and recognition
➢Pressure of parents
The flash bulbs and paparazzi of this attractive world sweeps these children off their feet but the tragedy that ‘stardom is no man’s companion’ remains with us forever. The world of children working in ‘show business’ is at odds with children employed in hotels and factories. Firstly, as they are not persuaded to work because of poverty. Secondly, working environment of the reality shows is not physically hazardous. Thirdly, their employment is pleasingly coveted in the modern society. It is not just reckoned to be labor as children have a natural predilection to be entertaining and enchanting. There percussion is that children shows have become one of the most commercial genres of television.
The various stumbling blocks which are sustained by these youngsters are:-
- SKEWED IMAGE–Children have become vulnerable to the physical body images being widely accepted by the employe They have to sometimes accept crude judgments of the judges regarding their physical appearance and on top of that deal with inexorable competition with other children. Maintenance of a particular figure especially in the modeling and advertising agencies has now become obligatory. Gaining of a little pound of weight is viewed as a potential peril. Such children in later stages of life suffer from eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia. The popularity of Broadway is not evermore so these ‘stars’ fall into chronic depression and commit suicide. They come into contact of alcohol, drugs at a very early stage. Renowned director like Shoojit Sircar recently denounced the practice of children participation in reality shows and asked for a ban on them.
- CUMBERSOME PROCESS-Children have to put up with the hefty procedure of auditioning, casting, attending interviews and waiting for call Therefore, leading to disruption in child’s education and domestic routine. As the glamour world is gaining popularity, child participants now have to navigate their contractual relations with the agents and managers. These agents spot talent and provide a platform to children to showcase their work. But however there are many unscrupulous agents who are involved in various crimes related to children like trafficking.
Those who are ceremonially surmised to be the so called ‘guardians’ of the child push their offspring in this pit voluntarily. Their reaction on the child’s rejection affects the child further. Parents are even ignorant of the gimmicks producers of shows indulge in to grab eyeballs to increase their TRPs. Does this not codify as child labor? In the author’s opinion it does as ‘life of little ones are destroyed when child labor is employed’.
Section 2- Denunciation of the 2016 Amendment
The new amendment to The Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment 2016 is a legislation, which indirectly allows child labor. This amendment on impulse seems avant-garde but originally the law has been tweaked. The various reasons for condemnation areas follow:-
- Amendment of Section 3-The new amended Section 3 of the Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment 2016 restrains employment of children in any hazardous work or process But however permits the child to work in family enterprises and the entertainment industry after school hours and during vacations.[iii]
- Skeptic Fiat-This section is also muddled as on one hand it totally prohibits child employment but allows child to work in family enterprise and entertainment industry as if that does not classify as labor. It has been very precisely been provided in the first section about the harmful effect of glamour world on childre It does not define hours of work after school. Imagine the predicament of the child who after 6 hours of school has to help their mothers meet the employer’s target date. Will he have the energy to go to school then next day?
- Insertion of section 3A-This section furnishes that no adolescent shall be employed in any Hazardous employment.
- Incongruity in stipulation-The prohibition for hazardous employment is provided but the list of hazardous activities has been slashed down from 83 of the 1986 Ac The already hazardous activities mentioned in the schedule can be removing on Government’s discretion. No assortment of non-hazardous activities has been done.
- Antithetical Regulation-This new amendment is conflicting with the ILO’s (International Labor Organization) Convention on Minimum Age and UNICEF’S Convention to which India is a signatory. According to UNICEF, a child is involved in child labor if he or she is between 5 and 11 years, does at least one hour of economic activity, or at least 28 hours of domestic work in a week.[iv]
- Amendment in Section 14-This section provides for a stricter punishment that is six months imprisonment which may extend to two years and a fine of twenty thousand which may extend to fifty thousa
- No Deterrence-The punishment provided is unsubstantial which has no effect on the male fac More over no punishment is provided for parents who pressurize the child to do labor; just a meager fine is provided.
- Inadequacy in directions-Even though the amendment bans employment of children in a circus, yet there is under supply of inspectors to check it. A huge number of children are employed in circ The work in such events is dangerous and complex. It deteriorates the health of the child. It is a short term employment so no surveillance is done for the same.
Section 3-Peroration and the way out
Child labor is a momentous societal issue, which needs to be fathomed on a swift basis. Children are the booming destiny makers of our country and should not be used in adverse ways. They should have a genuine opportunity to grow and prosper. They are not mature psychologically and biologically so they are more prone to health hazards. Reality of child labor is knotty and it is because of percipience and ambition of parents. Indian needs to mound to the fact that child labor extends to high class modern society as well.
Some of the resolutions to aid in untangling the problems are as follows:-
- A balance in education and socio economic reality.
- A moral oversight should be developed so that children are not exposed to distressing and inappropriate scene
- Proper rules should been sued for travel and tour plans for children so that education is not hampere
- Presence of strong advocacy against children working in the entertainment industry.
- Stricter rules need to be evolved protecting children against exploi
- The 2016 amendment was aimed to preserve the traditional skills of parents by allowing children to work in family enterprise Rather than allowing them to work they should be passed on through reform and investment in education.
- Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan should be extended to homeless children as we
The law should not be intended to reverse the gains. Thus, as it is rightly said,
The Past: Our cradle, not our prison; there is danger as well as appeal in its glamour. The past is for inspiration, not imitation ; for continuation , not repetition” —Israel Zangw
[i]Refer Article 24 of Indian Constitution
[iv] Ruchira Gupta ‘A law that allows Child Labour’ written on 10th August, 2016.
Author: Juhi Bhutani
College: Army Institute of Law
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