The Union cabinet has approved amendments to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, said Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday.

The Act strengthens the law to safeguard minors in the nation.

Also, the provision of the death penalty has been included for those found at fault or guilty of the provoked assault on a minor.

At a press meet today, Union Minister asserted, “This is a very wholesome initiative by the Union government. The government has brought about a far-reaching amendment in the POCSO Act. Our aim is to prevent children from falling victim to sexual aggression.”

Prasad added that there are some who cause premature development in children through the administration of hormones to enhance their appeal in the sex trade and pornography industry and doing this has now been made a major offense through Section 9 of the Act.

“Drugs should not be abused to “kill the childhood of a child” for inappropriate purposes,” he said.

Some ways were listed by Mr. Prasad in which the government could restrict access to child pornography.

“Another aim of this provision is to curb the proliferation of child pornography,” he said.

If such material is found circulated either for commercial or other purposes, those will face stringent punishment as well.

Enacted in 2012, the POCSO Act provides a vigorous legal framework to protect children from sexual harassment, assault and pornography, and safeguarding the interests of the child at every stage of the judicial process.

Several states, including Rajasthan, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh, have approved the death penalty for those found guilty of raping children under the age of 12.

-Harleen Sandhu