Bonded Labour in India: Its Incidence and Pattern
Author : Ravi S. Srivastava | 2005
Published By: ILO
The first large survey to assess the nature and magnitude of bonded labour was undertaken in 1978. Subsequently, the Supreme Court of India has pronounced a number of judgements to clarify the meaning of the term ‘bonded labour’. It has also appointed Commissioners to the Court and has given a number of directives to Central and State governments to indicate the incidence of bonded and forced labour and to vigorously implement the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976. Since 1997, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has been given a pivotal role in monitoring the implementation of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act and in ensuring that the directives of the Supreme Court are followed by the Central and State governments. This paper draws on the contemporary evidence on bonded labour, using reports and surveys since the mid-90s, in order to identify changes that may have occurred in the incidence and pattern of bonded labour. The National Commission on Rural Labour (NCRL) Report of 1991 (Ministry of Labour 1991a and 1991b) will be an important benchmark in this study, both in interpreting the contemporary situation and situating changes that have occurred in the last few years.
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