In its latest reform, the Indian Government decided to overhaul its 29 year old Child Labour Act. The original act of 1986, banned employment of children below 14 in only 18 hazardous industries. Now the Government proposed to ban employment of children under 14 years in all kinds of commercial enterprises. Ideally, this would be touted as a major step to eradicate Child Labour in India, but Indian MSM had other ideas.
Firstly, the new proposal had an exemption, i.e. all child labour of children under 14 years would be banned EXCEPT work done in family enterprises and on farmlands provided it is done after school hours and during vacations. And this is precisely where MSM decided to manipulate facts.
Before we head to MSM, lets see what Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Child Rights activist Kailash Satyarthi had to say about this:
We are demanding a complete ban on child labour up to the age of 14. It nowhere means that children cannot help their families in their free time. They definitely can, but not at the cost of their education, health and leisure time. Also, a child cannot be involved in a commercial activity even at home. The proposed child labour law provides for this.
So the law is pretty much in sync with what a Nobel Peace Prize winner and someone with years of experience in this field feels. But of course, journalists who have zero experience, zero awards and zero educational background had other views.
Government set to send millions of children back into exploitative labour
This was also regurgitated by Quartz India, which claims to publish “intelligent journalism”, but fails to mention how this is useless since it has a tie-up with something like Scroll.in. The first paragraph used to be like this, until they surreptitiously changed after their lies were exposed:
The key here is, Scroll decided on its own, that “family enterprises” is a “euphemism” used by the Government for hazardous industries like carpet-weaving etc. If only they had bothered to stick to real journalism instead of being a Modi-hate driven propaganda site, they would have realized that all the industries they mentioned, had been banned by the Government by including them in the hazardous list. In the “List of Occupations & Processes prohibited under the Act”, under Part B, Carpet-weaving is sr no. 2, Beedi-making is sr no. 1, Gem polishing is sr no. 25, Lock making sr no. 29, match-box making is at sr no. 5. These are exactly the industries Scroll.in claimed were covered under “family enterprises”. Clear as day lies.
Scroll.in continues to say that this new amendment “flies in the face of the Right to Education Act, 2009”, whereas the truth is that it will be in perfect sync with the RTE Act that guarantees children between 6 and 14 the right to go to schools. Scroll further hilariously claims “It will also be a serious setback to all the work done by activists such as Kailash Satyarthi” which we have already seen is completely untrue.
But why blame only foreign funded “Indian” “News” portals. Many others got it wrong too. The Guardian said: The Government will be “ending the country’s absolute ban on child labour.” And Business Standard claimed “New Child labour law may lead to more child labour in farm sector”, this even when the new law is a substantial improvement over the old law.
And finally, is this reform “new” per se? As journalist Rupa Subramanya says the “new” amendment is pretty much the same as what was proposed during the UPA rule, but which got stuck in procedural log-jam. This is much like the fate of the Real Estate Bill, which was stuck in UPA’s quagmire and which was revived and pushed now.
This reveals two facts:
1. On multiple occasions like Child Labour Bill, Real Estate Bill, GST etc it is the NDA Government which is reviving reform which the UPA left for dead in its 10 years rule
2. Most of the “issues” MSM has with the revived bills, were never voiced during UPA rule, but suddenly find relevance now.
And this is why hit-jobs by Indian MSM need to be dealt with strongly. Because these views are not unbiased, and are most often motivated, which leads to MSM resorting to complete lies.