MGNREGA wages fall below minimum wage in 34 states, Union Territories -Shalini Nair

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published Published on Apr 2, 2019   modified Modified on Apr 2, 2019
-The Indian Express

Data shows that this is the maximum recorded divergence between the Centre-notified MGNREGA wages and the state-notified minimum wages since 2009, when both were brought on a par for the first time.

New Delhi:
FOLLOWING THE lowest increase since its inception, wages being paid under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme (MGNREGA) have fallen below the minimum wage in 34 of the 35 states and union territories.

Data shows that this is the maximum recorded divergence between the Centre-notified MGNREGA wages and the state-notified minimum wages since 2009, when both were brought on a par for the first time.

Last week, the Centre effected an average annual MGNREGA wage hike of 2.16 percent for the financial year 2019-20, the lowest since the social security scheme was started in 2006. Yet, it’s only in Nagaland that the MGNREGA wage is higher than the state’s minimum wage.

Last year, The Indian Express had reported that in 2018-19, MGNREGA wages were below the minimum agricultural wages in 28 out of 35 states and UTs, owing to marginal hikes — the scheme is not applicable in Delhi.

There is no consolidated data on minimum wages available with the central government as these are notified by individual states. However, a comparison of newly notified MGNREGA wages with minimum wages collated by the collective, NREGA Sangharsh Samiti, shows the maximum divergence is in Goa, Gujarat, Tripura, Telangana, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

In these states, the MGNREGA wage is less than 70 per cent of the minimum wages. For instance, while Goa has a relatively higher MGNREGA wage of Rs 254 per day, its minimum wage is much higher at Rs 409 a day. In Jharkhand and Bihar, which has the lowest MGNREGA wage of Rs 171 daily, the states’ minimum wages are Rs 239 and Rs 246, respectively.

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The Indian Express, 2 April, 2019, https://indianexpress.com/article/india/mgnrega-wages-fall-below-minimum-wage-in-34-states-union-territories-5653792/


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