Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour Scheme-2016
In India, bonded Labour System was abolished by law throughout the country in 1975 under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Ordinance which was replaced by the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. The act made it the responsibility of State governments to identify, release and rehabilitate the bonded labour.
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 was in operation since May, 1978. The Government has revamped the Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourers scheme from 17th May, 2016. The revamped scheme is known as the ‘Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourers, 2016’.
- The scheme is a Central Sector Scheme and the State Government is not required to pay any contribution for the purpose of cash rehabilitation assistance.
- Financial assistance has been increased from Rs. 20,000/- to one lakh per adult male beneficiary, Rs. 2 lakh for special category beneficiaries such as children including orphans or those rescued from organized & forced begging rings or other forms of forced child labour, and women and Rs. 3 lakh in cases of bonded or forced labour involving extreme cases of deprivation or marginalization such as trans-genders, or woman or children rescued from ostensible sexual exploitation such as brothels, massage parlours, placement agencies etc., or trafficking, or in cases of differently abled persons, or in situations where the District Magistrate deems fit.
- The release of rehabilitation assistance has been linked with conviction of the accused. In cases where the trial has not been concluded, but the District Administration has arrived at a prima facie finding and proof of bondage, then the proposal for cash assistance shall not be stopped for want of details of conviction. However, final disbursement of cash assistance and non-cash assistance shall be made upon proof of bondage and other legal consequences as per judicial process.
- The amount of assistance for survey of bonded labourers is Rs. 4.50 lakh per district.
- Scheme provides for creation of a Bonded Labour Rehabilitation Fund at District level by each State with a permanent corpus of at least Rs. 10 lakh at the disposal of the District Magistrate for extending immediate help to the released bonded labourers.
- The budget allocation available under the Scheme for the current financial year is Rs. three crore. Every bonded labour including child bonded labour in the country is covered under the Scheme.
In case of migrant bonded labourers, it is responsibility of the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations, where the bonded labour have been identified, to make arrangements for their repatriation to their native place, if they so desire.