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❖ Child Labour Act

Child labour refers to the employment of children at regular and sustained labour. This practice is considered exploitative by several international organizations and is illegal in several countries. Child labour was used to varying extents through most of history, but entered public dispute with the advent of universal schooling, with changes in working conditions during the industrial revolution, and with the emergence of the concepts of workers' and children's rights.

The Child Labour Act was enacted in 1986 and it repealed the earlier Act of 1938. The main purpose of the child labour Act was to abolish child labour from certain industries completely and in others where child labour would be allowed, to regulate the child labour. The Child labour Act is divided in four parts and the most important sections are Section 3 which is to be read with the schedule and the entire Part III comprising of Sections 7 to 13 which list down the conditions of the work of children.

The child labour Act prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years in 16 occupations and 65 processes, which are dangerous to the children's lives and health. These processes and occupations are listed in the Schedule to the Act. The Government has included children working in the domestic sector as well as motels and roadside eateries under the prohibited list of hazardous occupations in October 2006. In September 2008 diving as well as process involving excessive cold and heat, mechanical fishing, food processing, beverage industry, timber handling and loading, mechanical lumbering, warehousing, and processes involving exposure to free silica such as slate, pencil industry, stone grinding, slate stone mining, stone quarries as well as the agate industry were added to the list of prohibited processes and occupations.

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