India ratifies Two Fundamental Global Conventions to combat Child Labour

India has ratified two key global conventions for combating child labour as a step towards creating full respect for fundamental rights at work.

Salient Highlights India has deposited the instruments of ratification of the two fundamental ILO Conventions with the International Labour Office (ILO).

The two key conventions are related to the elimination of child labour- the Minimum Age Convention, 1973 (No 138) and the Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182).

India has become the 170th member of ILO to ratify the Convention No. 138, which requires the member parties to set a minimum age under which no one should be employed in any occupation, except for light work and artistic performances.

India has become the 181st member of ILO to ratify Convention No 182 which requires state parties to prohibit and eliminate worst forms of child labour, including slavery, forced labour and trafficking;  the use of children in armed conflict; the use of a child for prostitution, pornography and in illicit activities such as drug trafficking; and hazardous work.

The elimination of Child Labour from the country is also essential to achieve Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

The ratification of these conventions will help in achieving Goal 8 of the sustainable development goals which aims at complete eradication of child labour by 2025 and calls for prohibition and elimination of its worst forms.

Government Initiatives The government has recently amended the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 which came into effect in September 2016.

This amendment prohibits employment of children below 14 years in any occupation or process.

It also prohibits the employment of adolescents (14 to 18 years) in hazardous occupations and processes.

The government has also strengthened the National Child Labour Project. It is a rehabilitative scheme that provides bridge education and vocational training to adolescents.

India-South Korea sign Agreements to Push Infrastructure Development and Bilateral Trade

India and South Korea has signed an agreement for $10 billion assistance for infrastructure development projects in India, including smart cities.

It includes $9 billion in concessional credit and $1 billion in Official development assistance (ODA).

Part of this fund will be utilised towards Smart City projects in India.

With this agreement, South Korea has become one of the first non-G-7 countries to become an ODA contributor in India.

The agreements were signed during the four-day official visit of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to South Korea to attend the fifth India-Korea Financial Dialogue.

South Korea strives to diversify its economic partnerships and India being world’s fastest growing major economy offers immense opportunities to Korea for diversifying its economic partnerships.

This also offers India great opportunities.

Both the countries have also decided to establish a mechanism at senior official levels to identify good infrastructure projects in India to make use of the funding.

In the face of rising protectionism, the two countries have also agreed that there is an urgent need for them to increase efforts to stimulate investment flows, support for infrastructure development, and bilateral trade among others

Background The present engagement between India and South Korea comes under the overall umbrella of the ‘Special Strategic Partnership‘ as declared in the Joint Statement of the Prime Ministers of both the nations in May 2015.

Also, recently, a MoU was signed between both the countries for defence industry cooperation in shipbuilding.

UN General Assembly Approves Creation of New UN Office of Counter Terrorism

The United Nations General Assembly has approved the establishment of a new United Nations office of counter-terrorism to help Member States implement UN’s global counter-terrorism strategy.

Salient Highlights With the creation of new UN office of counter terrorism, UN will transfer the relevant functions out of the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) into the new body.

The Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office (CTITF) and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) currently under the DPA will be transferred to the new office together with existing staff and associated budgetary resources.

The new UN Office of counter-terrorism would he headed up by an Under-Secretary-General. The new Under-Secretary-General would Chair the Task Force and Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre.

Functions The new office will have the following five main functions: To provide leadership on the counter-terrorism mandates entrusted to it across the United Nations system.

To enhance coordination and coherence across the 38 Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force entities for ensuring balanced implementation of the four pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.

To strengthen the delivery of United Nations counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to the Member States.

To improve visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for United Nations counter-terrorism efforts; and To ensure that priority is given to counterterrorism across the United Nations system.

India’s Views India has welcomed the creation a UN office on counter-terrorism. It expects that the “much- awaited” step will help in aligning UN with the changing needs and international reality in the fight against terrorism.

India has been repeatedly stressing on the need to have a separate office for counter-terrorism as the presence of as many as 31 entities within the United Nations dealing with some aspect of countering terrorism lacked coherence and coordination in dealing with terrorism.