Raise pay under job scheme: Sonia

Sonia wrote the letter in the backdrop of complaints that in 19 states, the wages being paid to workers were less than that of the existing minimum wages.

The problem cropped up after January 2009, when the Union Ministry of Rural Development gave directions to states to pay minimum wages under MNREGS at Rs 100 per day.

Interestingly, though the minimum wages in 19 states—including Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Karnataka and Kerala—are much higher than the rate, these states immediately started giving just Rs 100.

Though the problems were  brought to the ministry’s notice by social activist Aruna Roy and economist Jean Dreze, who were also in the Central Empower Committee of the Rural Development ministry,  they were ignored. However, after becoming NAC members, both of them raised the issue again.    

“This is an unacceptable situation and needs to be corrected at once,” says the background note. The background note suggests that a solution to the situation would be for the Centre to immediately notify the prevailing minimum wage rates in each state as the rate to be paid under the MNREGS with a stipulation that the approved minimum wage would then be indexed to inflation as measured by the consumer price index for agricultural labour.

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