By Prarthana Mitra
A day after UN’s International Labour Organization called for stronger implementation of minimum wage laws in India, the government has agreed to revise wages under the flagship Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
Real wages in India lagging economic growth: ILO https://t.co/qWCi2364hT
— Umar Farooq (@P_UmarFarooq) August 21, 2018
The UN agency’s report also noted that wage disparity poses a massive challenge towards ensuring inclusive growth and decent working conditions for workers, especially in the rural and informal sectors. It urged the government to take the gross discrepancy between the wages in urban and rural India into account, which leads to greater inequality and proves that economic growth has not had any real impact on the rural workforce.
The two wages were aligned in 2009, but several states later arbitrarily increased their minimum wages, further widening the gap. At Rs 384, the average daily wage in urban areas today is almost double the average pay in rural areas, the report said.
According to Employment and Unemployment Survey reports, the average wage in India was about Rs 247 per day in 2011-’12, almost double the 1993-’94 figure of Rs 128. Until April 2018, daily wages under MGNREGS for unskilled workers range between Rs 168 in Bihar and Jharkhand to Rs 281 in Haryana. However, the minimum wage in Bihar was raised to Rs 237, Rs 210 in Jharkhand and Rs 326 in Haryana.
India’s average daily wage has registered an increase of 92% in two decades since 1994. However, average labour productivity has increased more rapidly than real… https://t.co/0telB0nFvA
— PPC IIM Bangalore (@PPC_IIMB) August 23, 2018
Although the gender wage gap has declined from 48% in 1993-’94 to 34% in 2011–’12, it continues to exist for all kind of workers – regular and casual, urban and rural, especially for Dalit and indigenous women employed in cities.
The difference in average daily wages according to education
is least among casual workers, as they are often engaged in unskilled work. ILO India Wage Report: https://t.co/UjYQOAwIjv pic.twitter.com/shSxMs5WWq
— ILO India (@ILONewDelhi) August 20, 2018
In India, the gender wage gap continues to be high despite the decline from 48% in 1993–94 to 34% in 2011–12. Check out new @ILONewDelhi Wage Report: https://t.co/B0UCT95q4z pic.twitter.com/mMcoA8wUQq
— ILO (@ilo) August 20, 2018
Niti Aayog reportedly organised several regional conferences to discuss the course of action regarding the quantum of the hike, its financial implications for the centre, and the possibility of converging MGNREGS and the agricultural sector. A high-level committee of chief ministers headed by Shivraj Singh Chauhan of Madhya Pradesh is likely to deliberate on the final policy, a source close to the development told Economic Times on the condition of anonymity.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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