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Stress on effective anti-bonded labour strategy

Special Correspondent

The foremost reason behind people being caught in the trap is poverty


  • Call for proper coordination
  • Regular monitoring urged
  • Rajasthan ranks fourth in the country

    JAIPUR: The need for devising an effective strategy for abolition of bonded labour and strict implementation of the Supreme Court's guidelines for their rehabilitation, besides regular monitoring of progress of work, was emphasised at a workshop on the bonded labour issues held here on Tuesday.

    The one-day workshop, attended by District Collectors, Government officials and the subject experts, was organised by the Rajasthan Government in association with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to sensitise the officials to the issues relating to bonded labourers. Officials from 17 districts of the State attended the workshop.

    The Minister of State for Labour, Babulal Verma, addressing the workshop, affirmed that the eradication of bonded labour was the collective responsibility of all sections of society. He termed the bonded labour a curse to the society, while calling upon the people to play an active role in doing away with the practice.

    Mr. Verma said proper coordination between the State Government and non-Government organisations could lead to the rehabilitation of labourers on the social, physical and psychological fronts. He pointed out that regular monitoring would bring about effective change in the situation and ensure that freed labourers were not drawn into the vicious circle again.

    The special rapporteur of NHRC, Chaman Lal, in his presentation, regretted that bonded labour was continuing in several parts of the country despite Article 23 of the Constitution prohibiting traffic in human beings and forced labour. He said the District Magistrates were empowered by the law to identify bonded labourers and take steps for their release and rehabilitation.

    He pointed out that Rajasthan occupied the fourth rank after Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab in terms of the number of bonded labourers. The foremost reason behind people being caught in the trap was poverty, while nearly 95 per cent of these labourers were Dalits and tribals.

    Mr. Chaman Lal said the poverty alleviation schemes needed a reorientation to prevent the induction of poor people in bonded labour and ensure rehabilitation of labourers. Rajasthan, he pointed out, was the first State to organise the second workshop on the issue.

    The Union Labour Secretary, K.M. Sawhney, said the International Labour Organisation's 29th convention had referred to bonded labour as a despicable practice and called upon the Collectors to complete the task of identification and rehabilitation of labourers in their respective districts.

    Other participants, including the State Human Rights Commission's Member, Giriraj Singh, felt that special camps on the issue in the districts would help generate awareness among the people. The first workshop to sensitise the Government officials to the bonded labour issues was held here on February 25 last and was attended by the Collectors and other officials from 15 districts.

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