Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer, 2016

News: Ministry of Labour and Employment has informed Rajya Sabha about the Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer, 2016

Facts:

About Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer, 2016

The salient features of the scheme are:

  • A bonded labour rehabilitation fund is created at the District level by each State with a permanent corpus of at least Rs.10 lakh at the disposal of the District Magistrate. This fund is renewable.
  • Financial assistance of Rs. 1 lakh is provided for rehabilitation of a rescued adult male bonded labourer and 2 lakh for rescued child bonded labourer
  • The Scheme also provides for financial assistance of Rs. 4.50 lakh per district to the States for conducting a survey of bonded labourers, Rs. 1 Lakh for evaluatory studies and Rs. 10 Lakhs per State per annum for awareness generation.

Additional Information:

Bonded Labour:

  • Bonded labour is generally described as a type of forced labour and is also known as debt bondage or debt labour. It occurs when a person is forced to use their physical labour to pay off a debt
  • According to the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act (BLSAA), 1976, there are three elements that go into making a labour situation bonded:

o   Being under an obligation such as repayment of a loan;

o   Meeting the obligation (that is, repaying the loan) through unpaid or underpaid labour or service;

o   Having no freedom to escape the obligation.

Constitutional Safeguards

  1. Article 23 prohibits practices like a beggar, forced labour and human trafficking. The term beggar may mean labour or service provided by the person with less or no remuneration.
  2. Article 24 prohibits the employment of children whether bonded or otherwise.
  3. Article 21 guarantees a right to life and personal liberty. Also, no person or authority can own the life of another human being. The practise of bonded labour violates all constitutionally mandated rights.
  4. Article 19 (1) g enables an individual to practise any trade, profession, and employment of their choice. Article 19(2) provides reasonable restrictions to the trade of choice and employment
  5. Article 39 requires the State to “direct its policy towards securing”:
  • The economic necessity of workers,
  • Personality development of children and youth.
  • Protection against all forms of exploitation. 

Legislation:

  • Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976: The Act intends to free all bonded labourers, cancel their debts, establish rehabilitative measures and punish the offender through imprisonment and fine.
  •  Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 and Amendment in 2016: It prohibits the engagement of children in certain employments and regulates the conditions of work of children in certain other employments
  • Trafficking of Persons Bill 2018: It makes special note of trafficking for the purpose of forced labour, and categorises it as an aggravated form of trafficking
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