Members in both Houses called the attention of the Minister of Water Resources to barrage projects being undertaken over river Mahanadi by the Government of Chhattisgarh, thereby severely impacting the flow of water into the Hirakud dam in Odisha. The Minister replied to the discussion stating that the centre is willing to convene a meeting between the Odisha and Chhattisgarh government to resolve the issue.
Rajya Sabha saw adjournments after the calling attention discussion. Opposition members demanded that voting on the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation (Amendment)) Bill, 2015 (a private member Bill that could not be taken up last Friday due to disruptions), be taken up.
Lok Sabha passed the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Bill. It seeks to prohibit the employment of children (i.e. those below 14 years of age) in all occupations and adolescents (i.e. those between 14 and 18 years of age) in hazardous occupations and processes.
The government had circulated amendments to the Bill in 2015. A comparative note of these amendments, with the provisions of the Bill and the Standing Committee recommendations can be found here.
During the debate, members raised their concerns about the exceptions provided to allow children to work. These exceptions include: (i) family and a family enterprise which does not involve hazardous occupations, after school hours or during vacations, and (ii) working in the audio-visual entertainment industry (films, TV, etc.) or sports activities. Some members felt the definition of ‘family’ and ‘family enterprise’ is broad and needs to be more specific.
Lok Sabha was continuing debate on the bill at the time of sending this report.