Skip to main content

"Model" Gujarat worst paymaster to rural workers: Has highest gap between NREGA wage and minimum wage rate

By Rajiv Shah
Figures culled by the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) Sangharsh Morcha, India’s top civil rights group fighting for strict implementation of India’s premier rural guarantee scheme, floated by the UPA government in 2005, have revealed that Gujarat is the worst pay master, highest highest gap among 20 major Indian states between officially declared minimum wages and NREGA wages.
As against the officially stipulated minimum wages in Gujarat, Rs 298, NREGA workers in the state are paid, on an average, Rs 192 per day, suggesting that the difference between what they should be paid and what they are actually paid is a whopping Rs 106 for a day’s work, which is the highest in the country.
While there are two major states – Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu – where the MREGA workers are paid “more” than their minimum wages, all other Indian states end up paying up less-than-minimum wages under the rural guarantee scheme.
The scheme -- acclaimed by the World Bank in 2013 as “innovative practice” to promote financial inclusion, a U-turn from its earlier view that it was “barrier to economic development” – provides a legal guarantee for 100 days of employment in every financial year to adult members of any rural household, willing to do public work-related unskilled manual work.
Ironically, the two states “paying” more under NREGA, have kept their minimum stipulated wages extremely low. Maharashtra’s officially declared minimum wage is Rs 194 as against the payment of Rs 201 for a day’s work under NREGA. Same is the case with Tamil Nadu, where the minimum wage is Rs 195, while the NREGA wage is Rs 205.
The difference between the stipulated minimum wage and NREGA wage is Rs 105 in the case of Andhra Pradesh, where the officially declared minimum wage is 302, while payment under NREGA is Rs 197, followed by Bihar (Rs 69), Assam (Rs 67), Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand (both Rs 62), Punjab (Rs 61), Madhya Pradesh (Rs 58), West Bengal (Rs 54), Uttar Pradesh (Rs 53), and so on.
Bringing this to light, in a letter to Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of Rural Development, Government of India, NREGA Sangharsh Morcha has regretted that the Centre is “yet to notify the revised wage rates” for NREGA, yet muster rolls for the “next financial year are being issued at the 2017-18 wage rates”.
Pointing out that, currently, NREGA wage rates of all the 29 states and Union Territories are “less than the corresponding minimum wage rates for agricultural work”, and the difference is “greatest in Tripura, where the MGNREGA wage rate is only 58 per cent of the state minimum wage for agriculture”, the letter tells the minister, “This ratio is 59 per cent for Sikkim, 64 per cent for Gujarat and 65 per cent for Andhra Pradesh” (click HERE for table).
The civil rights organization says, “The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld minimum wages as a fundamental right and equated payment of anything less as ‘forced labour’. Unremunerative NREGA wages, coupled with long delays in wage payments – even non-payment of wages in many cases – has turned many rural workers away from the employment guarantee programme.”
Asking the Government of India to immediately come up with a “notification of revised NREGA wage rates for 2018-19”, the letter demands “payment of compensation” calculating the difference between the minimum wages and NREGA wages paid till now, underlining, the NREGA wages should obligatorily be not below minimum wages in 2018-19.
The letter wants "NREGA wage rate to be at least Rs 600 a day, as the Seventh Pay Commission recommends a minimum monthly salary of Rs 18,000”, adding, for this, adequate allocation should be made in the “budget to meet the work demand of all rural households.”

Comments

Dhiren said…
Sad but true
Uma Sheth said…
How did Modi succeed in hoodwinking EVERYBODY about the Gujarat model????????
Anonymous said…
According to MGNRGA provision in NREGA the agriculture MW or NREGA MW which one would be higher will allied. Agri MW is still 150 in Model gujarat.

TRENDING

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

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".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

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.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.

Online education 'driving' digital divide: $1.97 bn industry's paid users grow at 6x rate

Counterview Desk
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Maharashtra, in a new report in the series on Lockdown on Civil Liberties focusing on education has said that there is a huge “push-out” children due during the pandemic, with deepening digital-divide playing a major role.