Skip to main content

Wages in Gujarat are one of the lowest in the country, say National Sample Survey data, released last week

By Rajiv Shah
The latest National Sample Survey (NSS) data have suggested that Gujarat's regular wage earners, salaried classes and the casual workers are being paid one of the lowest wages as compared to most Indian states. While Gujarat may claim to have the highest pace of urbanisation in India, shockingly, as against the all-India average per day earning of urban regular wage earners and salaried persons of Rs 450 per day, in Gujarat it is a poor Rs 320. This, if the NSS, which carried out its survey in 2011 and 2012, is to be believed, is the lowest compared to anywhere else in the country.
In fact, even the so-called backward states offer better wages to its salaries employees and regular workers. In Bihar, it is Rs 412, in Chhattisgarh Rs 323, in Assam Rs 607, in Madhya Pradesh Rs 436, in Odisha 432, in Rajasthan Rs 417, and in Uttar Pradesh Rs 483. Regular wages and salaries in “comparable states”, which compete with Gujarat for achieving developmental goals, are -- Maharashtra Rs 486, Andhra Pradesh Rs 395, Karnataka Rs 487, Haryana Rs 777, Punjab Rs 362, and Tamil Nadu Rs 390.
The NSS has situation was found to be equally bad in with regard to casual labour in urban areas. Casual wages, on an average, are Rs 145 per day in Gujarat, which, again, is worse than 20 major states, except for four -- Chhattisgarh, where it was Rs 106, Madhya Pradesh Rs 126, Uttar Pradesh Rs 143 and West Bengal Rs 128. In casual labour in urban areas, Kerala tops the list with Rs 310 per day on an average, with the all-India average being Rs 170. Significantly, most of the urban wage earners work in industry, and the Gujarat government is in forefront in advocating the anti-labour exit policy.
Coming to casual workers in the rural areas, Gujarat was found to be equally bad. In rural areas, casualisation has taken place on a massive scale and small and marginal farmers are increasingly turning into wage labourers. The NSS survey has found that the casual workers’ wages in rural Gujarat – on an average – are Rs 113, as against the all-India average of Rs 139. Here, Gujarat is worse than all 20 major states except two -- Chhattisgarh (Rs 84) and Madhya Pradesh (Rs 105). The earning of casual workers in rural areas was, again, found to be the highest in Kerala, Rs 315, which is almost three times that of Gujarat.
Things are slightly better with regular wage earners and salaried classes of the rural areas, who in any case form a small section. Here, on an average, per person per day earning is Rs 254 per day, as against the all-India average of Rs 298.96. Several “backward” were found to be performing better in their respective rural areas -- Bihar (Rs 411.82), Assam (Rs 302.22), Rajasthan (Rs 305.59), Uttar Pradesh (Rs 276.13), Jharkhand (Rs 478.61). The survey shows that regular wages and salaries in rural areas were higher in as many as 14 out of 20 major states compared to Gujarat.
Urban Gujarat's poverty should be a matter of concern. According to the 2011 Census, 42.6 per cent of Gujarat's population lives in urban areas, as against 37 per cent in 2001, making the state one of the fastest growing urbanized states in the country, fast catching up with Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Yet, the fact is, urban poverty has failed to come down in any drastic way. In fact, the percentage of urban poverty in Gujarat during the second half of the decade ending 2010 was a mere 2.2 per cent, from 20.1 per cent to 17.9 per cent, which just about 0.44 per cent per annum.
Notably, this was lower than a dozen out of 20 major states, including Madhya Pradesh, which saw a whopping 12.2 per cent reduction in urban poverty, followed by Orissa (11.7), Rajasthan (9.8), Maharashtra (7.3), Tamil Nadu (6.9), Karnataka (6.3), Kerala (6.3), Andhra Pradesh (5.7), Chhattisgarh (4.6), Bihar (4.3), Uttar Pradesh (2.4) and West Bengal (2.4). The all-India average percentage of urban poverty reduction is 4.6.
Poor wages in Gujarat become worse for the female workers of every category. The average male casual workers’ wage in the urban areas, according to the survey, was Rs 161, as against the female wage of Rs 89. As for regular wage earners and salaried employees in the urban areas, the average per day earning in Gujarat was found to be Rs 326 for males and Rs 272 for females. Of course, this is not at all Gujarat specific, yet the fact is, Gujarat’s females are one of the worst earners of wages compared to most Indian states.

Comments

TRENDING

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

Poser to Modi: Why is Gujarat not fulfilling Constitutional obligations to minorities?

Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on infringing upon MCC activists’ constitutional right to protest. Nafees says, they had no other demands except that the Gujarat government should move towards fulfilling the constitutional obligations towards minorities and international treaties to which India is a signatory.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.