1,855 bonded labourers released: Minister

March 6th, 2008 - 9:06 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 6 (IANS) Banned by law nearly 32 years ago, bonded labour is still in practice in India and the government has released 1,855 such labourers from various states, according to official data. The data suggests that the evil is practised in a majority of north-western states, notwithstanding the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976.

Minister of State of Labour and Employment Oscar Fernandes Wednesday informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply that respectively 157, 150 and 88 bonded labourers were rescued and rehabilitated in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal up to Dec 31 2007.

For their rehabilitation, the government provides financial assistance in case of an adult, while the child labour is sent to juvenile home.

Except Karnataka, from where 64 bonded labourers were released and rehabilitated in 2004-05, no such figure is available for other southern states, suggesting that bonded labour was completely abolished there, the minister said.

In 2004-05, the minister said, 866 bonded labourers were rescued from Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh.

Fernandes, replying to a question from Jai Prakash Aggarwal of the Congress, informed the house that 397 bonded labourers were rescued from Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal in 2005-06.

In 2006-07, 197 bonded labourers were rescued from Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, he said.

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