Kathmandu, August 13
The government has drafted a bill seeking an amendment to the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act-2000 with stringent measures against worst forms of child labour in the country.
The proposed provisions in the bill posted on the website of the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration stipulated that labour office or province or local level may, with or without a complaint, depute its staffer for inspection of places where children are engaged in hazardous works.
In the proposed bill punitive measure against a person engaging a child below 18 years of age in work included fine up to Rs 50,000 from existing Rs 10,000 or imprisonment of up to three months, or both.
Anyone who engages a child in hazardous business or work shall be liable to a punishment of imprisonment of one year in maximum or a fine of up Rs 200,000 or the both.
“If a person engages two or more children in a labour at a time, he/she shall be liable to additional punishment of up to two years in jail or a fine up to Rs 200,000 or both,” the bill stated.
Residence, motel, hotel, casino, restaurant, bar, pub, resort, skiing, rafting, cable car, mountaineering, hot air ballooning, gulf course, polo, horse riding, workshop, laboratory, slaughterhouse, public transport, brick kiln, construction and manufacture of various products, were categorised as hazardous business or work in the bill.
Any person or group may file a complaint at the concerned labour office or local level in regard to offences under the bill.
It also proposed that a child engaged in labour or hazardous business may file a complaint against the concerned employer within one year of attainment of the age of 18. The labour office or local level may warn father, mother, any other family members and guardians of the concerned child worker asking them not to engage the child in labour or hazardous business.
The draft bill has been provided to all local levels for their suggestions and opinions as per the request of the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, said the MoFAGA.
Eliminating trafficking, sexual exploitation, worst forms of child labour and ending all forms of violence against women and children, and protecting the rights of migrant workers are preconditions for meeting the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.
According to Central Child Welfare Board, children in Nepal were found employed mostly in informal sectors such as restaurant, transportation, construction work, agriculture, small and cottage industries, carpet factory, brick kiln, jari factory.
They were also employed as porters and as domestic workers. Incidents of involving children in hazardous works by lying their age have also been exposed. National Population Census-2011 revealed that as many as 104,714 children (56,267 boys and 48,447 girls) were involved in various types of labour works. According to Nepal Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey-2014, 37.4 per cent of children aged between five and 17 years were child labours.
A version of this article appears in print on August 14, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.