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ILO welcomes major step to end child labour in India

India will have ratified six out of eight ILO fundamental conventions.

NEW DELHI (ILO News) – ILO welcomes the decision of the Indian Government to ratify the two key international conventions on child labour. The Ministry of Labour and Employment placed it before the parliament on April 10.

Once it has deposited the instrument of ratification of the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No. 138)  and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182) , India will have ratified six out of eight ILO fundamental conventions.

“India is taking a major step forward on minimum age for employment starting at the age of 14 in line with the ‘The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009’ . India is also firm on eliminating worst forms of child labour for children up to age 18 and younger. The ratification will provide opportunities to step up the fight against child labour,” said Panudda Boonpala, Director of the ILO Decent Work Team for South Asia and Country Office for India.

The ILO acknowledges the consistent efforts made by the Indian government, social partners and the civil society organizations in aligning The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016  to these ratification instruments.

The ILO has had longstanding collaboration with the Indian government to address child labour issues. The Conventions provide a framework for the abolition of child labour so that each and every child has the opportunity to develop physically and mentally to their full potential by not doing work that jeopardises their education and development. However, this doesn’t stop all work performed by children. ILO Conventions 138  and 182  allow a distinction to be made as to what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable forms of work for children at different ages as well as stages of development.

Once the ratification process is completed, India as per the international law will be responsible for developing and implementing programmes to progressively eradicate child labour.

A priority will be to explicitly identify and prohibit the worst forms of child labour. The Indian government will also be obliged to monitor the implementation of the conventions and to periodically report its progress to the ILO supervisory bodies.

To date, 180 countries have ratified ILO Convention 182 and 169 countries have ratified Convention 138.

To date, India has ratified 45 international labour conventions and one protocol.

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