Prominent education activists in India have signed up to a resolution demanding no watering down of laws against child labour in the country. The government is proposing to allow children under 14 to work with their families in agriculture and in home-based industries. It justifies this on the deeply cynical basis that it wants to 'encourage learning at home as it leads to entrepreneurship', according to press reports.

The last government banned all child labour under the age of 14, but this is being changed by the Modi administration because it could 'upset the fabric of the country.' As the resolution, which has been signed by leading academics and campaigners, points out, this 'suggest that the government intend to continue the existing inequality in the area of school education and economic exploitation.' Government statistics put the number of out of school children in India at 4.3 million, but campaigners say that these figures grossly underestimate the real situation.

The resolution calls for the complete banning of all labour for children, defined as those under 18, for activists and networks to come together to fight for this and that equitable and free education should be provided for all children from the ages of 3 to 18. This latter is far from being the case at the moment, with teachers having to struggle continually for proper contracts, pay and conditions. Meanwhile low fee and poor quality private schools are proliferating even as the public education service is being systematically run down. 

The resolution to protect children was signed by the following organisations: Campaign Against Child Labour (CACL); People’s Alliance for Fundamental Right to Education (PAFRE) - Karnataka; Student Islamic Organisation (SIO) – Karnataka; Child Rights and You (CRY) - Bengaluru; Jeetha Vimukthi  Karnataka (JEEVIKA); Indian Social Institute(ISI)  – Bengaluru; Child Welfare Committee (CWC) – Bengaluru; Social Work Department - Bengaluru University (BU); Rural Literacy and Health Programme(RLHP) -Mysuru; Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School India University (CCL-NLSIU) participated in the strategic consultation.