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

Did Modi promote Dholavira, a UNESCO site now, as Gujarat CM? Facts don't tally

By Rajiv Shah  As would generally happen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet – that not only was he “absolutely delighted” with the news of UNESCO tag to Dholavira, but he “ first visited ” the site during his “student days and was mesmerised by the place” – is being doubted by his detractors. None of the two tweets, strangely, even recalls once that it’s a Harappan site in Gujarat.

How real is Mamata challenge to Modi? Preparing for 2024 'khela hobey' moment

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  Third time elected West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee is on a whirlwind tour of Delhi, meeting everyone who matters within and beyond the government, the Prime Minister, the President, some Cabinet ministers, Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, several other opposition leaders, et al.

Labelling a Jesuit a Marxist? It's like saying if you use a plane, you become American

Jesuits: Cedric Prakash, Stan Swamy By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* A thirteen- fourteen-year-old has many dreams! That's an impressionable age; at the cusp of finishing school. It is also a time when one tastes a different kind of freedom: to go for camps with boys of your own age (not with ones family). Such camps and outings were always enjoyed to the hilt. The ones, however, which still remain etched in my memory are the mission camps to the Jesuit missions in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Giant conglomerates 'favoured': Whither tribal rights for jal-jungle-jameen?

Prafull Samantara By Mohammad Irshad Ansari*  The struggle for “Jal, Jungle and Jameen” has been a long-drawn battle for the tribal communities of India. This tussle was once again in the limelight with the proposed diamond mining in the Buxwaha forest of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). The only difference in this movement was the massive social media support it gained, which actually seems to tilt the scale for the tribal people in a long time.

UP arrest of 'terrorists': Diverting attention from Covid goof-up, Ram temple land scam?

By Advocate Mohammad Shoaib, Sandeep Pandey* That corruption is rampant in police department is a common experience. However, there is another form of corruption which devastates lives of individuals and their families. It has now emerged as a common phenomenon that police more often than not register false cases because of which individuals have to spend number of years in jail.

If not Modi, then who? Why? I (an ordinary citizen) am there! Main hoon naa!

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The number of women ministers is doubled in early July from the first term after cabinet reshuffle by the present government led by Narendra Modi. While there were 06 women ministers in the previous term, this term there are 11. The previous two governments led by Dr Manmohan Singh had 10 women ministers in each tenure. Are these number of women ministers something to rejoice in the near 75 years of independence? Yes maybe, if we think that things are slowly improving in the patriarchal system. This change is less likely to achieve gender balance in the parliament otherwise we require more than 11 as per the 33% reservation . This change is also less likely because the men politicians’ inability to handle the country’s mess is becoming more and more evident and especially during the corona crisis. Seems, the addition of more women ministers may be a result of the recent assembly elections where women played a decisive role in the election results. For example

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Effluent discharge into deep sea? Modi told to 'reconsider' Rs 2275 crore Gujarat project

Counterview Desk  In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, well-known Gujarat-based environmentalist, Mahesh Pandya of the Paryavaran Mitra, has protested against the manner in with the Gujarat government is continuing with its deep sea effluent disposal project despite environmental concerns.

Gujarat govt gender insensitive? Cyclone package for fisherfolk 'ignores' poor women

By Our Representative A memorandum submitted to the Gujarat government by various fisherfolk associations of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat under the leadership of Ahmedabad NGO Centre for Social Justice's senior activist Arvind Khuman, who is based in Amreli, has suggested that the relief package offered to the fishermen affected by the Tauktae cyclone is not only inadequate, it is also gender insensitive.