Bonded Labour in the Country

SHAKTI VAHINI RESEARCH INITIATIVE

The Bonded Labour System has been abolished by law throughout the country with effect from 25th October, 1975 under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Ordinance which was replaced by the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. As and when existence of bonded labour is detected, such persons are identified for rehabilitation. According to the reports received from the State Governments, the total number of bonded labourers identified and released is 2,89,327 as on 31.3.2011.

The responsibility for rehabilitating the freed bonded labourers lies with the respective State Governments. In order to assist the State Governments in the task of rehabilitation of identified and released bonded labourers, a Centrally Sponsored Plan Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour is in operation since May, 1978. Under the scheme, rehabilitation assistance @ Rs. 20,000/- per bonded labour is provided which is equally shared by the Central and State Government.

In collaboration with the ILO, the Central Government and State Government of Tamil Nadu have launched a pilot project in the State for the purpose of reducing vulnerability to bondage through promotion of decent work. Attempt is now being made to replicate this approach in some other states of the country.

As a result of concerted efforts made by the Government through various anti-poverty programmes, awareness, sensitization etc., the incidence of bonded labour has witnessed a down ward trend over the years.

The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, provides for punishment for enforcement of bonded labour. The States/Union Territories are mandated to implement the provisions of the Act.

Separate data is maintained in respect of child bonded labourers identified and released.

This information was given by the Union Labour & Employment Minister Shri Mallikarjun Kharge in the Rajya Sabha today in Reply to a written question whether Government is aware of several cases of bonded labour in the country; Government`s plan to make country a bonded labour free nation; the action taken against the perpetrators of this crime and whether there has also been cases where children have been engaged as bonded labour and their details.

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