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Bonded Labor

Bonded labor as per the definition by National Commission on Labor is ‘labor that remains in the bondage for the debt incurred’. It is a relation between a creditor and debtor in highly unequal terms. This form of labor is a product of debt bondage where the dependence and control of labor is through indebtedness. The bonded labor system is created when an individual fails to repay his or her loan and is forced to work free till that loan is repaid. The debt tends to increase rather than diminish and the person in debt and sometimes the whole family are bound by life. Main reasons for taking debts can be anything for example over spending in the marriage, death of family bread earners, health related issues. Bonded labor has different names in different places in India. Sagri system in Rajasthan, Vetti system and Bhaghela in Andhra, Bandhua in North India, Saurkiya, Kamia, Ramasia and Janaouri in Bihar, Hali and Halpati systems in Gujarat, Feetha in Karnataka, Vet and Begar in Maharashtra and Jetha in MP. The agreement between the landlord and debtor once entered lasts for long time and debtor continues to render services for years together or sometimes for generations. The ignorance of the bonded laborers and their vulnerable position without any alternative makes them subjugated to the moneylenders. The other reasons for the continuation of bonded labor are caste system wherein the lower castes worked as bonded laborers in the arrangements of the high castes. Expenditure incurred on account of social and religious customs associated with births, marriages and death. The mortgage of land by needy farmers and poverty of the general masses that are forced to become indebted even to subsist. The bonded labor system implies the infringement of the basic human rights and destruction of the dignity of human labor. Due to its dehumanizing nature and violation of multiple human rights, it is the modern day slavery. The Article 23 prohibits bonded labor as Constitution guarantees us right against exploitation. Bonded Labor System Abolition Act was also passed in 1976.National Human Rights Commission also takes action in cases of bonded labor.

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