Labour officials attend training on bonded labour

The Tamil Nadu Labour and Employment Department organised a two-day training programme on Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 on 6th and 7th July 2018, at the GRT hotel’s convention centre, Chennai.

The training was conducted in various other districts such as Trichy and Madurai already, with the final training taking place at Chennai, today and tomorrow. The inauguration of the training programme and the presidential address was delivered by The Hon’ble Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Nilofer Kafeel, and the Principal Secretary, Mr. Mangat Ram Sharma, IAS, and the Commisioner of Labour, Dr. Nandagopal IAS, also were present to felicitate and address the officials on bonded labour.

Totally 80 labour officials participated in this training. The training covered topics under Human Trafficking and Bonded Labour: Identification, Rescue, Release and Rehabilitation.

The Minister for Labour and Employment, Dr. Nilofer Kafeel enlightened the gathering about the welfare schemes that are in action in every district for rescued bonded labourers. She spoke about the existing schemes that have effectively played a vital role in rehabilitating former bonded labourers. The Minister further reiterated the fact that bondage occurs due to illiteracy and non-exposure to the world outside of bondage. An earlier rescue and rehabilitation during which Rs. 49,5000/- was given to the rescued women and children by the Tamil Nadu government was brought to mind by the Minister. The government is working diligently to prevent re-bondage by providing the survivors with cattle and land pattas for livelihood.

The Principal Secretary, Mr. Mangat Ram Sharma, IAS, spoke on ‘bottom to top’ approach in learning about the issue of bonded labour. He encouraged the officials to actively participate in the sessions and work towards ending bonded labour. The Principal Secretary said that the State Action Plan is approved and that the government will provide funding without setting targets, but that the officials are expected to show the results at the end of the year with substantial improvements after the training.

The Commissioner of Labour, Mr. Nandagopal IAS, who is also the State Level Officer for bonded labour, introduced the issue of bonded labour and its elements and the industries that bonded labour is prevalent in. The objectives of the State Action Plan was shared with the participants. He stressed on the importance of training the grassroot level officials too as they work on field and at grassroot levels. The Commissioner urged the labour officials to ask, receive and disburse funds to the rescued labourers under their jurisdiction as the funds and benefits are available but the proposals have to be sent by the respective officials. The officer said that the labour officials must not work as islands but to join together to end bonded labour. He said that second level officers must also learn these things as it will be helpful when they transition to higher levels in future. He said that Tamil Nadu stands first in the abolition of bonded labour and that learning is now and whichever level they serve at presently.

This training initiated by the government is a significant effort aiming to train and equip the Labour Officials with knowledge about the issue of bonded labour and to curb the crime in Tamil Nadu.