The Gujarat Assembly, on Wednesday, unanimously passed the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) (Gujarat Amendment) Bill, 2020, which doubled the fine to Rs 1 lakh for those employing children in various occupations and processes.
Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Dilipkumar Thakor, tabled the Bill and said that the amendments to the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, decentralises power and empowers the Municipal Commissioner, the Director of Labour or the Labour of Regional Commissioner of Municipalities to ensure that the provisions of this Central Act are properly carried out. Earlier, this power lay only with the District Magistrate. The Bill also increases the amount of fine from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh, the minister added. Thakor said last year, 276 children employed as child labourers were rescued by the state government, of which 149 children hailed from outside the state.
Although Congress MLAs did not oppose the Bill, some MLAs said that increasing the fine will not root out the problem of child labour in Gujarat. Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani welcomed the move to increase the fines meant to discourage child labour. “Children aged between eight and 10 years are being employed as MNREGA workers in Banaskantha district,” said Mevani, asking for the formation of a Special Investigation Team to probe the issue. In reply, Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja said that action has been taken on the issue, including the filing an FIR.
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