NEW DELHI JUNE 3. An internal report on the implementation of recommendations of the Second Labour Commission has asked the Centre to seriously consider ratification of the International Labour Office (ILO) convention 182 on prohibition and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour. India has been shying away from signing the convention on the grounds that it would be difficult to implement these due to socio-economic conditions in the country and more importantly, it would result in the "death" of traditional art and crafts that are passed on from one generation to another by training the children, and are not always aimed to earn money.
Officially, though the Government has been hesitant in ratifying this convention because it believes that work likely to "harm health, safety or morals" as in the convention is not specific and that the necessary implementation machinery needs to be set up before amending the law to prohibit engagement of children in work. The ILO convention identifies trafficking of children, debt bondage, forced labour, engagement in armed conflict, child prostitution, and work injurious to health safety or morals.
The Second National Labour Commission has also recommended inclusion of the Supreme Court judgment that provides for alternative source of income to the family as a pre-requisite for eradication of child labour, payment of a compensation of Rs. 20,000 for every child labourer by the employer under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act and employment of an adult in the family in lieu of child labourers working in factory, mine or hazardous work. The consultation report favours a new law on Child Labour Prohibition and Rehabilitation as suggested in the Commission besides, the creation of a fund where fines and compensations can be deposited.
However, as far as the constitution of the fund is concerned, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has already constituted a National Commission for Children.
Describing the new law if drafted as highly desirable, the consultative report says its enactment would be a major step towards fulfilling India's social and constitutional commitment to the cause of children.
However, it points out that whether a permissible activity was actually being carried out under the supervision of parents and after school hours may not easily be verifiable and the provision for imposing fines on parents who do not send children to schools would not be easy to implement.