Skip to main content

51% Indian garment workers, worse than Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, get less than minimum wages

State of the garment sector workers in seven countries
By Our Representative
At a time when top Indian American economist Prof Arvind Panagariya, known to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wants Government of India (GoI) to drop the minimum wage criterion for labour-intensive garment sector to survive, top international NGO Oxfam said, wages in India’s garment sector are already one of the lowest in the seven countries it has studied.
Panagariya, who resigned last year as vice-chairman, Niti Aayog, the GoI think tank, citing bureaucratic interference, but has remained a Modi faithful, in a recent article gave the example of Shahi Exports, an apparel exports firm, for creating 252 times more jobs that the Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), to say why the “apparel industry model” holds “the key for India’s job creation requirements.”
“Jobs that Shahi Exports creates are what India needs most today”, insisted the top economist, adding, “On average, these workers earn Rs 15,000 a month. About 60% of Shahi Exports employees are women.” However, Panagariya warned, to sustain the “model”, the minimum wage criterion should be shed.
An Oxfam study, titled “Reward Work, Not Wealth”, released recently, providing comparison between seven countries, has found that not only the minimum wages in India’s garment sector are one of the lowest.
Thus, India’s 50.7% of workers working in the garment sector earn less than the minimum wages, which is worse than all but Philippines, where 53.3% of workers in the sector earn less than the minimum wages.
Garment sector: Non-compliance rate (%) by gender
In Vietnam, only 6.6% workers in the sector earn less than minimum wages, in Combodia it is 25.6%, in Pakistan 37.4%, in Thailand 37.5%, and in Indonesia 39.1%.
According to Oxfam, when the policy for enforcing the minimum wage criterion is enforced, in India, as elsewhere in the seven countries studied, things go “more to the benefit of men than women.”
Thus, the study says, “In the garment sector of Pakistan, for example, 86.9% of women are paid less than the minimum wage, while the figure for men is 26.5%. India, the Philippines and Thailand also have double-digit gender compliance gaps.” In India, 74% males working in the sector get minimum wages, as against 45.3% females.
Even as pointing out that “In countries like India and the Philippines, at least one in every two workers in the garment sector are paid below the minimum wage”, the study estimates, “It would take 941 years for a minimum wage worker in rural India to earn what the top paid executive at a leading Indian garment company earns in a year.”
The study further says, “It would take around 17.5 days for the best paid executive at a top Indian garment company to earn what a minimum wage worker in rural India will earn in their lifetime (presuming 50 years at work).”
It adds, “It would cost around Rs 326 million a year to ensure 14,764 minimum wage workers in rural India were paid a living wage. This is about half the amount paid out to wealth shareholders of a top Indian garment company.”

Comments

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.

Across the board, among Muslims, Hindus, there's enormous fury at Delhi Police: Report

Counterview Desk
A quick report, prepared by Delhi's concerned citizens, "Let Us Heal Our Dilli", based on one-day visit (February 27) to several areas and mohallas of North East Delhi affected by the riots that gripped the country's capital -- Bhajanpura, Chand Bagh, Gokulpuri, Chaman Park, Shiv Vihar, Main Mustafabad (including Bhagirathi Vihar and Brijpuri) -- has said everywhere there is "zero trust" towards that the police.