The steps taken by Government to check child labour and promote child welfare

Policies for elimination of Child Labour:

Various constitutional and legal provisions have been put in place to deal with the problem of child labour. Article 24 of the Indian Constitution provides that "no child below the age of fourteen years shall be employed in work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment". In India, the first legislation for regulating employment of children in factories was passed in 1881.

The factory act, 1948, prohibited employment of children below the age of 14 years. The child labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, is the first comprehensive legislation which prohibits employment of children below 14 years in organised industries and in certain hazardous industrial occupation listed in Part A and B of the schedule of the Acts. The National Policy on Child Labour was announced in 1987.

The policy focuses on a legislative action plan; general development programmes for benefiting children whenever possible; project-based action plans in areas of high concentration of child labourers engaged in wage/quasi-wage employment. Apart from it, the Government of India is also a signatory to six ILO conventions relating to child labour.

Child Welfare:

The Department of Women and Child Development (DW & CD) was set up m 1985 as part of the Ministry of Human Resource Development to give the much-needed impacts to the holistic development of women and children.

The National Policy on children was adopted in 1974 to provide adequate service to children both before and after birth to ensure their full physical, mental and social development.

Two National Plans of Action for Children, one for children in general and the other specifically for the girl child, were adopted in 1992.

The various schemes and special bodies for child welfare were established. ICDS, Kishori Shakti Yojana, Balika Samridhi Yojana are some schemes for child welfare. NIPCCD and National Commission for Child Welfare were established. The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) provides a package of services comprising supplementary nutrition, immunisation, health check-up and referral services, pre-school non- formal education and health and nutrition education.

Kishori Shakti Yojana aimed at improving the nutritional and health status of adolescent girls and promoting self-development, awareness of health, hygiene, nutrition, family welfare and management. The National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) is an autonomous organisation functions under the aegis of the DW & CD.