Govt may Dou­ble Min­i­mum Wage, Re­vise For­mula

Labour min­istry looks to dou­ble num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als con­sid­ered per fam­ily to 6 from 3

The Economic Times - - Economy: Macro, Micro & More - Our Bu­reau

New Delhi: In­dia may see a dou­bling of min­i­mum wage na­tion­ally to about ₹ 18,000 per month as the labour min­istry is set to relook at the for­mula cur­rently used to de­ter­mine the floor level.

The min­istry is ex­pected to take into con­sid­er­a­tion a pro­posal to dou­ble the units or in­di­vid­u­als con­sid­ered per fa- mily to six from three at present by in­clud­ing de­pen­dent par­ents as well as con­sid­er­ing each child as one unit.

Cur­rently, hus­band, wife and two chil­dren in a fam­ily are con­sid­ered three units, based on which min­i­mum wage is de­ter­mined for agri­cul­ture and non-agri­cul­ture work­ers un­der the Min­i­mum Wages Act, 1948.

The Act is ap­pli­ca­ble to 47 cen­tral sec­tor es­tab­lish­ments and in­cludes both agri­cul­ture and non-agri­cul­ture work­ers in the coun­try.

Labour min­is­ter Ban­daru Dat­ta­treya on Thurs­day said that a com­mit­tee will be con­sti­tuted to relook at the norms of fix­a­tion of min­i­mum wages in the coun­try.

A de­ci­sion to this ef­fect was taken at the first meet­ing of the min­i­mum wage cen­tral ad­vi­sory board re­con­sti­tuted re­cently. The last meet­ing of the board hap­pened in 2010. “The Min­i­mum Wage Act of 1948 is very old and the norms un­der the Act are not up to to­day’s re­quire­ment of ba­sic liv­ing. Hence a new com­mit­tee will be shortly set up to re­vise the norms of fix­a­tion of min­i­mum wages,” Dat­ta­treya said, adding that terms of ref­er­ence of the com­mit­tee will soon be fi­nalised.

Ac­cord­ing to Dat­ta­treya, the pri­mary is­sues that will be looked at in­clude num­ber of units per fam­ily, in­clu­sion of de­pen­dent par­ents and treat­ment of women and chil­dren on a par with men.

The labour min­istry has nearly dou­bled the min­i­mum wage for agri­cul­ture labour­ers in­clud­ing those hired on con­tract in March this year, six months af­ter a 42% in­crease in min­i­mum wages for non-agri­cul­tural labour­ers in Au­gust 2016 to ₹ 350 a day for un­skilled work­ers, trans­lat­ing into a monthly salary of ₹ 9,100 per month.

Con­se­quently, an un­skilled agri­cul­ture labourer will be en­ti­tled to get a min­i­mum wage of ₹ 300 per day in C-cat­e­gory towns, up from ₹ 160 now, or ₹ 8,658 per month, while those in B and A cat­e­gory towns will get ₹ 303 and ₹ 333 re­spec­tively.

Re­it­er­at­ing that labour code on wages will ad­dress most of wage is­sues, Dat­ta­treya said he would ta­ble wage code bill in Par­lia­ment in the on­go­ing ses­sion. “Be­sides, I will soon write to chief min­is­ters of all states to con­sti­tute the state level min­i­mum wage ad­vi­sory boards so that no state pays below the uni­ver­sal min­i­mum wage,” he said.

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