Bonded Child Labour

MINISTRY OF LABOUR PRESS RELEASE

The bonded labour system has been abolished throughout the country w.e.f 25th October, 1975 under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Ordinance which was replaced by Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. As and when existence of bonded labour is detected, such persons are identified for rehabilitation. The responsibility of identifying and rehabilitating the freed bonded labourers lies with the respective State Governments.

In order to assist the State Governments in the task of rehabilitation of identified and released bonded labourers, the Centrally Sponsored Plan Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour is in operation since May, 1978. Under the Scheme, rehabilitation assistance @ Rs. 20,000/- per bonded labour is provided which is equally shared by the Central and State Government. The Central Government takes appropriate action on National Human Rights Commissions reports or references on rescued bonded labourers for release of central assistance to the concerned State Government under the scheme.

The Government is implementing the National Child Labour Project Scheme since 1988. The scheme seeks to adopt a sequential approach with focus on the rehabilitation of children working in hazardous occupations and processes in the first instance. Under the Scheme the surveys are conducted to identify children working in hazardous occupations and processes. Of the children identified, those in the age group 5-8 years are mainstreamed directly to formal education system through the SSA, Working Children in the age Group 9-14 years are rehabilitated through the special schools. Children rescued/withdrawn from work are enrolled in the special schools, where they are provided with bridge education, vocational training, nutrition, stipend, health care etc. before being mainstreamed into formal education system. The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986, prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years in 18 Occupations and 65 Processes. The Act regulates the working conditions of children where they are not prohibited from working. Any person who employs a child in any occupation or process where employment of children is prohibited under the Child Labour Act, is liable for punishment with imprisonment or with fine. Further, the Ministry launches awareness generation campaigns against the evils of child labour and enforcement of child labour laws through electronic and print media at the center as well as at the district level.

The Minister of State for Labour & Employment Shri K. Suresh gave this information in reply to a written question in the Lok Sabha today whether identification of bonded child labourers in various industries in a very casual manner is resulting in the engagement of children in those places; whether the Government is also aware of the National Human Rights Commission report on rescued bonded child labourers who are still waiting for rehabilitation and compensation; and the measures taken by the Government for speedy identification and rehabilitation of rescued child labourers in the country.

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