Popular TV shows targeted to children are coming under scrutiny after a new legalisation in India could prevent anyone under 12 participating.

According to a report in the Business Standard, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) said it would prescribe the minimum age limit for participants to be over 16 years for reality shows but added that it could be brought down to 12 years for group competitive shows. The recommendations would be forwarded to the ministry concerned.

The future of shows such as ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa: Lil Champs’ (ZEE TV), ‘STAR Voice Of India Chote Ustaad’ (STAR Plus) and ‘Boogie Woogie on Sony TV look bleak.

ZEE TV programming head Ajay Balwankar Pointed out: “We use kids to nurture their talent under strict guidelines and under parents۪ supervision. There is no violation of child rights. However, if some norms on age are introduced, we will take up the matter with Information and Broadcasting Ministry and oppose such a move.”

Many fear that children viewership would come down due to the latest move. “Children will have no interest in watching family shows and this will bring viewership down,” said Jamnadas Magethia, promoter of Hats Off Productions, which makes programmes like ‘Baa Bahu and Baby’, a family serial.