23 September 2015 14:51:10 IST

Centre proposes to raise rehab aid for bonded labour

Asks States to set up own funds

To rehabilitate millions of bonded labour in the country, the Labour Ministry proposes to raise the existing scheme of assistance from ₹20,000 to ₹1 lakh per adult male. It also proposes ₹2 lakh aid for special category beneficiaries, such as orphans, girl children forced into prostitution and beggars, out of which ₹1.25 lakh will be deposited in an annuity scheme and the rest in the beneficiary’s account.

The scheme also includes disabled persons working as bonded labour, who will get ₹3 lakh as aid, of which, ₹2 lakh will be deposited in an annuity scheme and the rest in the bank account.

A draft notification by the Labour Ministry also proposes to make this a Central scheme, as opposed to the existing system wherein the Centre and the States equally share the financial burden. It has asked States to set up their own funds for the purpose.

“The State governments shall not be required to pay any matching contribution for the purpose of rehabilitation assistance,” says the draft, adding that States should instead focus on creating a bonded labour rehabilitation fund at the district level, among other things.

Noting that so far the scheme is restricted to only 18 States, the Ministry also noted that “it has become a regular feature to surrender money under this scheme in the absence of adequate proposals from States.”

Funds for survey The draft also proposes ₹4.5 lakh assistance for survey of bonded labourers across States.

The estimates of the number of people working as bonded labour in India, termed as ‘modern slavery’, varies from 11 to 14 million, and includes children and the disabled.