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Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act, 1976

Topics covered:

  1. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.


Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act, 1976


What to study?

For prelims and mains: Key features and significance of the law, measures needed for their relocation.


Context: Low conviction rate under the Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act, 1976.


Possible reasons for low conviction:

  1. General social bias.
  2. Nature of bonded labour being migrants, absentism of Witnesses due to their migratory Nature.
  3. DM/SDM Courts not as proficient in trial as judicial Courts.


About the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976:

The Act is being implemented by the concerned State Govts./UTs.

The Act provides for an institutional mechanism at the district level in the form of Vigilance Committees.

For the purpose of implementing the provisions of this Act, the State Governments/UTs may confer, on an Executive Magistrate, the powers of a Judicial Magistrate of the first class or second class for trial of offences under this Act.

Government of India has introduced a revamped Central Sector Scheme for Rehabilitation of Bonded Labourers- 2016, under which financial assistance to the tune of Rs.1.00 (one) lakh, Rs.2.00 (two) lakhs & Rs. 3.00 (three) lakhs are provided to released bonded labourers based on their category and level of exploitation along with other non-cash assistance for their livelihood. 



Bonded Labour or bandhua mazdoori was historically associated with rural economies where peasants from economically disadvantaged communities were bound to work for the landlords. In the present times, however, bonded labour is found to exist in both rural and urban pockets in unorganised industries such as brick kilns, stone quarries, coal mining, agricultural labour, domestic servitude, circus and sexual slavery.