New Delhi: The government has planned to release and rehabilitate 1.84 crore bonded labourers in the country under its vision for 15 years till 2030, Parliament was informed today.
"A perspective vision document has also been prepared for total abolition of bonded labour," said Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
According to the 15-year vision (till 2030), it has been planned to identify, release and rehabilitate an estimated 1.84 crore bonded labourers and strengthen the prosecution machinery and reaching 100 per cent conviction rate for preventing new bondage.
Besides, there are plans to provide a sustainable monthly earning system for preventing return to bondage.
Similarly, there will be 7-year strategy (2017-18 to 2023-24) under which there is a plan to bring down the number of bonded labour to 50 per cent of the present estimate and augment the annual budget to cater to the needs of at least 12 lakh bonded labourers.
The strategy will also focus on amending the labour laws relating to organised sector to widen the ambit of coverage of vulnerable workers, including released bonded workers.
There will also be a 3-year action plan (2017-18 to 2019-20) under which the government will create a district level rehabilitation fund with a minimum corpus of Rs 10 lakh at the disposal of district magistrate for immediate cash assistance.
The plan will also include survey on bonded labour in 18 states at the rate of two per state every year. The action plan envisages payments through direct benefit transfer (into beneficiaries bank accounts).
The minister also told the House that the total number of bonded labour released and rehabilitated till March end this year stood at 2,82,429.
According to the statement in the House, the maximum number of bonded labourers was released and rehabilitated in Tamil Nadu (65,573) followed by Karnataka (58,348), Odisha (47,313), Uttar Pradesh (37,788) and Andhra Pradesh (31,687).
Under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, it is the responsibility of the state government to identify, release and rehabilitate the bonded labourer.
In order to assist the states in the task of rehabilitation of identified and released bonded labourers, a centrally-sponsored scheme for their rehabilitation has been in operation since May 1978.
Under the scheme, an assistance of Rs 20,000 per bonded labourer was provided, which was equally borne by central and state governments.
The government has revamped the scheme with effect from May 17, 2016. The revamped scheme is known as the Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourer, 2016.
(Data contributed by Kishor Kadam)
Updated Date: Jul 21, 2016 15:54 PM