India has been criticized by UN and India Nobel prize winner Kailash Satyarti after its parliament approved several controversial amendments to the country’s child labor bill.
The new Child labor bill prohibits children under the age of 14 from working, but makes an exception for “family businesses”. Also, it reduces the number of jobs 15-18-year-olds are banned from doing.
The government of India says the law will help poor families earn a living and give children a chance to acquire skills.
Kailash Satyarti said the bill was a “missed opportunity” for India. He said “The definition of family and family enterprises is flawed. This Bill uses Indian family values to justify economic exploitation of children. It is misleading the society by blurring the lines between learning in a family and working in a family enterprise”.
Unicef India’s Chief of Education Euphrates Gobina said in a statement. “Under the new Child Labour Act, some forms of child labor may become invisible and the most vulnerable and marginalized children may end up with irregular school attendance, lower levels of learning and could be forced to drop out of school”
It is estimated that there are approximately 10.2 million children working in India.