India’s parliament has approved a controversial law that would allow children to work for family businesses, despite widespread concern by the UN and other rights advocates that it will push more children into labour.
The measure, approved on Tuesday (July 26), brings several changes to a three-decade-old child labour prohibition law. The bill now goes for the president’s assent before becoming law.
The UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF) as well as many others have raised alarm over two particular amendments – permitting children to work for their families and reducing the number of banned professions for adolescents.
A 2015 report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) put the number of child workers in India ages five to 17 at 5.7 million, out of 168 million globally.
UNICEF estimates that there are 28 million child labourers in India.