POLICY REPORT NO. 18

Modern Day Slavery: A Study of Tribals and Dalits as Bonded Labour in Brick Kilns

Scholars have analysed bonded labour in South Asia as a result of poverty, social exclusion, and the failure of state mechanism to act against the practice and its underlying causes. The chronically poor, predominantly drawn from the Scheduled Castes and minority groups are often those who are enslaved under this oppressive system.

The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy's latest Report examines the conditions of migrant labour from rural areas of four States – Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar, and analyses the causes behind the persistence of bonded labour even 40 years after it was abolished. Based on interviews of labourers, brick kiln owners, civil society members, lawyers and government officials it brings out the issues of unorganised labour in India, and how industries disregard labour protection and welfare.

The action taken by the state to end the labour bondage is ineffective, while the efforts of non-government organisations have been more on release than rehabilitation. The Report, authored by Ajita Banerjie suggests the manner in which bonded labour should be contextualised in the discussion to improve labour standards.



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