Bonded Labour Scheme: All You Need to Know

Introduction

Bonded Labour System has been abolished by law throughout the country with effect from 25th October 1975 under the Bonded Labour System. The ordinance which was replaced by the Bonded Labour System Act 1976 it is the responsibility of State government to identify release and rehabilitate the bonded labour. The Centrally Sponsored Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded
Labourers 1978 was revised in May 2000. In an evaluation of the performance of the scheme and consultation with stakeholders, it was realised that the scheme was not effective in the elimination of Bonded Labour System and a revamp was necessary. A draft scheme was accordingly prepared by the Ministry and circulated to all State Governments NHRC various concerned Ministries of Government of India for suggestions from the public and other concerned citizens. Based on the suggestions and inputs received from all Central Government has approved the revamped Scheme. The revamped scheme shall be known as a Central Sector Scheme which does not entail State share in the cash component of the rehabilitation package. The noncash component of the erstwhile CSP scheme will continue as it is, with minor modifications to suit the changing needs of the time.

Revamped Scheme and Guidelines


  • The revised Scheme shall be a Central Sector Scheme and had come into effect from 17th May 2016. The State Governments shall not be required to pay any matching contribution for the purpose of cash rehabilitation assistance. 
  • The Rehabilitation package shall be Rs.1,00,000 per adult male beneficiary. The beneficiary shall have the option to either deposit it in an annuity scheme or receive the cash grant. 
  • For special category beneficiaries such as children including orphans and those rescued from organized and forced begging rings or other forms of forced child labour and women the amount of rehabilitation assistance shall be 2 lakhs out of which at least l,25,000/- shall be deposited in an annuity scheme in the name of each beneficiary and the balance amount shall be transferred to the beneficiary account. 
  • The above benefits would be additionally to other land and housing elements, etc. of the original scheme as mentioned below:

  1. Allotment of house-site and agricultural land
  2. Land development
  3. Provision for low-cost dwelling units
  4. Animal husbandry, Dairy, Poultry, Piggery etc.;
  5. Wage employment, enforcement of minimum wages etc.
  6. Collection and processing of minor forest products
  7. Supply of essential commodities under target public distribution system
  8. Education for children.

  • In the case where, on the conclusion of the summary trial, the District Magistrate/Sub-Divisional Magistrate concludes that the alleged bonded labourer is in fact not in a condition of bondage but requires socio-economic assistance. 
  • The benefits prescribed here in before shall be in addition to other cash or Non-cash benefits which a beneficiary under this scheme is entitled to any other scheme or law applicable for the time being in force. 
  • The amount of assistance for the survey of bonded labourers shall be 4.50 lakh. This amount can be utilised to finance the NGO efforts for identification of bonded labour as per State Government norms. 
  • The expenditure on awareness generation shall be reimbursed on a case by case basis subject to maximum limit of 10 lakh per State per annum. 
  • A Bonded Labour Rehabilitation Fund shall be created at the District level by each State with a permanent corpus of at least Rs.10 lakhs at the disposal of the District Magistrate which should be renewable. This fund will be utilised for extending immediate help to the released bonded labourers. 
  • The immediate assistance of at least 5,000/- shall be provided by the District Administration to the rescued person out of the District Bonded Labour Rehabilitation Fund.

Implementation and Monitoring


  • The implementation and monitoring of the BLR scheme shall be carried out by the Central Monitoring Committee, prescribed under the NCLP scheme, but with JS/DG (LW) as member-convener for the purpose of BLR Scheme. 
  • At the State level, the same implementation machinery for NCLP Scheme shall also be responsible for implementation of the revised BLR Scheme. 
  • At the district and sub-divisional level, the same implementation machinery for NCLP scheme shall also be responsible for implementation of the revised BLR Scheme assisted by the Vigilance Committees, as prescribed under the Act and Rules.

Conclusion


The budget allocation available under the Scheme for the current financial year is Rs3 cr. Every bonded labour including child bonded labour in the country is covered under the Scheme. In the case of migrant bonded labourers, it is the responsibility of the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations where the bonded labour has been identified to make arrangements for their repatriation to their native place if they desire. These are the important information about revamped Bonded Labour Scheme.

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