NHRC expresses concerns over delay in release of relief package to victims of bonded labour
New Delhi/UNI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday expressed serious concerns over the inordinate delay in the release of relief packages to the victims of bonded labour.
In a fresh advisory to the Centre, States and UTs, NHRC Chairperson Justice Arun Mishra asked them to make efforts to de-link the issue of relief package from the outcome of criminal proceedings in the case as the victim has no control, nor is associated in the trial.
The Commission said that the focus of the state and district level functionaries should not only be limited to brick kilns alone, but also in domains where the bonded labour system has manifested itself in newer forms like in construction industry, shopping malls, call centres and massage parlours.
These forms of bonded labour are needed to be identified for providing relief to them as per the existing Act and Scheme.
The Commission said the proposed National Portal on bonded labour should, inter-alia, include rehabilitation data, details of visit and functioning of vigilance committees, data obtained from state labour departments, data relating to surveys, data on advancement of cash and non-cash benefits to bonded labour, pending criminal cases and date of initiation and outcome and features of case management.
The district administration should bear the expenses of providing food and safe transportation facilities to the released labourers, it added.
In context of Non-Cash Assistance, the District Magistrate should ensure that the benefits available under CSS-2016, such as allotment of house-site and agricultural land, land development, provision of low cost dwelling units, animal husbandry, dairy, poultry, piggery, wage employment, enforcement of minimum wages, collection and processing of minor forest products, supply of essential commodities under Targeted Public Distribution System and education to children, should be given to the families of released bonded labourers, NHRC said.
The Commission asked the state governments and UTs to identify households in extreme vulnerable conditions so as to prevent any instance of bonded labour by providing them with free ration, healthcare and other social security cover to the vulnerable and the marginalised communities.
It told the concerned authorities to invoke the provisions of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989), if a bonded labour belongs to those communities, in addition to invoking the provisions of the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act to give him relief.
The Commission has asked to fix the accountability of the officers and bridging the gaps in the implementation of legal provisions.
The registration of informal workers on e-Shram portal has also been asked to be simplified, besides the process of creation and re-coupment of corpus funds thereof.
The Commission, in a letter through its Secretary General Bimbadhar Pradhan to the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Chief Secretaries, Administrators of States and Union Territories, asked for implementation of its recommendations in the Advisory and the action taken report within 90 days.
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