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Labour Ministry Wants 15x Hike in Rehab Cost of Bonded Labourers

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The labour ministry has proposed a massive increase in rehabilitation cost of bonded labourers from Rs.20, 000 to up to Rs.3 lakh, a fifteen-fold jump.
(Union Minister of Labour and Employment – Shri Narendra Singh Tomar)

Revised scheme will be centrally administered, with

  • Rehabilitation package of 1 lakh per adult male beneficiary.
  • Rehabilitation cost per labour under the scheme is equally borne between the Centre and the state and was last revised in 1999.
  • For special category beneficiaries such as young children, the rehabilitation assistance shall be 2 lakh while for disabled people it will be Rs.3 lakh.

Government is planning to substantially raise assistance under the scheme.

  • As per the proposal, Rs.1.25 lakh out of the assistance of Rs.2 lakh for special category people will be deposited in annuity scheme
  • 2 lakh of the Rs.3 lakh for disabled people will be deposited in the annuity scheme.

Bonded labour, sometimes also referred as debt bondage or debt slavery, involves a person’s pledge of labour or services as security for the repayment for a debt or other obligation with undefined duration of work.

Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 provided for the constitution of a vigilance committee at district and sub-divisional levels in each state and union territory for identification, release and rehabilitation of bonded labourers in the country.

Government launched a centrally sponsored scheme for rehabilitation of bonded labourers in 1978 under which assistance up to Rs.4, 000 per bonded labour was provided. This was raised Rs.6,250 in 1986 and further to Rs.10,000 in 1995 before fixing it Rs.20,000 in 1999 which is prevalent till date.