The Government is aware of the low conviction rate under the Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act, 1976.
Possible reasons for low conviction, as discussed in different forums are as under:
(i) General social bias.
(ii) Nature of bonded labour being migrants, absentism of Witnesses due to their migratory
(iii) DM/SDM Courts not as proficient in trial as judicial Courts.
The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act 1976 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.
This information was given by Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar, Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.