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New guidelines on child artists expected in 2 months

MUMBAI: The labour ministry is planning to come up with guidelines in two months to regulate the working hours of child actors in the entertainment space.

The ministry will come out with stringent guidelines which will include restriction on work hours, regular health check-up for children working in the sector by their employers, and provision of proper meals to ensure that the young artists are not deprived of nutrients required for growth.

A report in Economic Times quoted a labour ministry official as stating that the proposal is aimed at ensuring that child actors get adequate time for their education and other activities.

“As an exception, we have allowed children below 14 years to work in the entertainment industry, keeping in mind the requirement of the sector as well as the great career opportunity it opens up for children at a very small age. However, this does not mean that we will let employers over exploit kids in the name of entertainment,” the official said.

Last month, the cabinet had given its approval for moving official amendments to the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2012, which included prohibiting employment of children below 14 years in all occupations and processes and age of prohibition of employment linked to age under Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009.

The government had, however, allowed the family or family enterprises, which is other than any hazardous occupations or processes set forth in the Schedule, after his school hours or during vacations from the rule.

Another notable exception from the rule was to allow children artists to work in entertainment industry, including advertisement, films, television serials or any such other entertainment or sports activities except the circus, subject to such conditions and safety measures, as may be prescribed and provided that such work does not affect the school education of the child.

According to experts, the audio-visual industry employs 1-2 per cent of the total children employed across the country with the number growing rapidly. The total number of working children aged between five and 14 was 1.26 crore, as per 2001 census.