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Jun 12, 2008 at 10:35pm IST

No soap opera: Govt watches kids on TV shows

New Delhi: Reality TV shows featuring children may be all song and dance for fans but the Government wants to make sure the entertainment is actually not exploitation.

Working conditions of children in TV serials and reality shows will scrutinised to prevent a “new type of child labour,” the government announced on Thursday.

The Women and Child Development Ministry has asked the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to form a five-member committee which would study the working conditions of child artistes.

"The working conditions under which they (children) work are not properly defined. There are no guidelines to define whether they are getting proper rest after shooting for eight-nine hours or nutritious food in the studios," said Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury.

NCPCR member Sandhya Bajaj said the commission was needed because the problem was new. "This is a new type of child labour which we have to deal with. The parents of these child artists are rich and do not necessarily need money but today the craze to see their offspring on TV is all pervasive," she said.

The Women and Child Development Ministry has asked the NCPCR to set up a committee and after a thorough study, guidelines will be issued to prescribe the conditions under which children should work.

The committee, which would be formed later this month, will have a member each from the ministries of women and child welfare, labour, NCPCR, a child psychologist and a TV professional with experience in producing reality shows.

The Government’s scrutiny of reality shows may change the traditional concept of child labour. Poor children working to eke out a living were considered exploited. Will the government may end up labelling kid TV stars as child labourers?

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