The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today gave its approval for placing the new Instrument adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) – Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention (No. 29), 1930 supported by Forced Labour Recommendation, 2013 (No.-203) before Parliament. The Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 prescribes that each Member shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate use of forced labour to provide protection to victims and access to appropriate and effective remedies such as compensation, and to sanction perpetrators of forced or compulsory labour. Each Member shall develop a national policy and plan of action for the effective and sustained suppression of forced or compulsory labour in consultation with employers’ and workers’ organizations, which shall involve systematic action by competent authorities.
The Recommendation on Supplementary Measures for the Effective Suppression of Forced Labour provides that Members should establish or strengthen national policies and plans of action with time-bound measures, using a gender and child-sensitive approach in consultation with employers, workers and competent authorities. It says that members should regularly collect, analyse and make available statistical data, disaggregated by relevant characteristics such as sex, age and nationality, on the nature and extent of forced or compulsory labour which would allow an assessment of progress made.
The International Labour Conference of the ILO at its 103rd Session held in Geneva in May-June, 2014 adopted a new instrument in the form of a Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 supported by the Forced Labour Recommendation, 2013.
ILO Conventions are international treaties, open for ratification by member countries. The ratification of an ILO Convention is a voluntary process. Once ratified, ILO Conventions create legally binding obligations on member countries. ILO Recommendations are not open to ratification but they are meant to provide guidance to national Governments on formulation and implementation of policy, legislation and practices. A Protocol is an instrument that partially modifies a Convention.
The Government of India has been proactive in taking measures for eliminating forced labour. The Ministry of Labour and Employment has initiated a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for rehabilitation of bonded labourer, to be equally contributed by the Centre and State Governments.