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Modi government mulls new norms that will allow children below 14 years to work

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Young street vendor with smoke, Varanasi Benares India

By NewsGram Staff Writer

The government is all set to make a controversial change in the Child Labour Prohibition Act during the current session of Parliament. The new amendment will allow children below the age of 14 years to work in select family enterprises if it doesn’t curb their right to education.

The prohibition will not apply if children assist the family in fields, forests and home-based work after school hours or during vacations or while attending technical institutions, states a draft provision in the Child Labour Prohibition Act.

A proposal by the Labour Ministry declared that the new standard will also be valid in the entertainment industry and sports excluding the circus. However, children between the age of 14 and 18 will not be allowed to work in industries dealing in perilous work.

An official from the Labour Ministry told an English daily that the new norms will be in agreement with the International Labour Organization (ILO) convention. Therefore, it is likely to be passed smoothly even in the Rajya Sabha where the government is in minority.

“While the provision will especially help poor families where children help in family subsistence, we have enough safeguards to ensure that these children are not forced by families to work in any industry,” he stated.

Census data have revealed that the numbers of child labourers in India have fallen to 4.3 million from 12.6 million in the last decade. Industries dealing in matchboxes, footwear, fireworks and carpet making are the biggest employers of children below the allowed age.

The current child labour law prohibits the employment of children below 18 years in hazardous industries. However, it was in 2012, during the UPA government, when the ban was extended to all industries.

The Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Bill, 2012, introduced in the Rajya Sabha, suggested a complete ban on child labour until they finish elementary education, guaranteed under the Right to Education Act.

“The effort is to push two more legislation in the current session, including the Small Factories Act and amendment to the Employees Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provision Act,” said the ministry official.

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Climate Change Would Affect Health Of Indian Children: Lancet

Climate change would hit health of Indian children hard, says study by Lancet

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Children in India will be particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of climate change. Pixabay

Children in India will be particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of climate change such as worsening air quality, higher food prices and rise in infectious diseases, warns a new study published in the journal The Lancet.

Climatic suitability for the Vibrio bacteria that cause cholera is rising three per cent a year in India since the early 1980s, said the report.

“With its huge population and high rates of healthcare inequality, poverty, and malnutrition, few countries are likely to suffer from the health effects of climate change as much as India,” said study co-author Poornima Prabhakaran from the Public Health Foundation of India.

“Diarrhoeal infections, a major cause of child mortality, will spread into new areas, whilst deadly heatwaves, similar to the one in 2015 that killed thousands of people in India, could soon become the norm,” Prabhakaran said.

Through adolescence and into adulthood, a child born today will be breathing more toxic air, driven by the fossil fuels and made worse by rising temperatures.

This is especially damaging to young people as their lungs are still developing, so polluted air takes a great toll, contributing to reduced lung function, worsening asthma, and increasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Later in life, a child born today will face increased risk from severe floods, prolonged droughts, and wildfires.

 

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Children in India breathe toxic air and may develop lung diseases. Pixabay

Most countries have experienced an increase in people exposed to wildfires since 2001-2004 with a financial toll per person 48 times larger than flooding.

India alone saw an increase of more than 21 million exposures, and China around 17 million, resulting in direct deaths and respiratory illness as well as loss of homes, said the report.

“Over the past two decades, the Government of India has launched many initiatives and programmes to address a variety of diseases and risk factors. But this report shows that the public health gains achieved over the past 50 years could soon be reversed by the changing climate,” Prabhakaran said.

The “Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change” is a yearly analysis tracking progress across 41 key indicators, demonstrating what action to meet Paris Agreement targets — or business as usual — means for human health.

The project is a collaboration between 120 experts from 35 institutions including the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank, University College London, and Tsinghua University.

For the world to meet its UN climate goals and protect the health of the next generation, the energy landscape will have to change drastically, the report warns.

Also Read- Prince Charles Talks Climate Change in India

Nothing short of a 7.4 per cent year-on-year cut in fossil CO2 emissions from 2019 to 2050 will limit global warming to the more ambitious goal of 1.5 degree Celsius, said the report. If the world follows a business-as-usual pathway, with high carbon emissions and climate change continuing at the current rate, a child born today will face a world on average over 4 degree Celsius warmer by their 71st birthday, threatening their health at every stage of their lives. (IANS)