The Union cabinet Thursday cleared the new National Child Policy,which,for the first time,lays down a universal definition of the child as less than 18 years.
The policy shifts the welfare-based approach to childrens issues to a rights-based approach framework,in line with the UN Child Rights Convention,which India ratified in 1992. It calls upon ministries to bring their policies and laws in line with the new approach.
Legislations that might need a re-look in view of the new definition of the child include the RTE Act,which defines a child as aged 6 to 14; laws against child labour,which prohibit employment of those under 14 years; and Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act which considers a child as aged under 16. The trafficking law,which is being amended now,could be the first to be brought in line with the policy,sources said.