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Govt to rework baseline for paying MNREGA wages

LiveMint logoLiveMint 07-05-2017 PTI

New Delhi: In wake of lowest rise in daily wages of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MNREGA) workers in some states, the centre is looking to rework the baseline on the basis of which the remuneration is paid to beneficiaries under the employment guarantee scheme.

According to the Union rural development ministry data, the daily wage under the MNREGA has risen by just Re1 in Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, by Rs2 in Odisha and by Rs4 in Bengal. MNREGA wages have been increased by 2.7% this year compared to 5.7% rise in the last financial year. The revised wages applied from 1 April.

There is a huge variation between MGNREGA wages notified by the centre and the minimum wage of some states, and MGNREGA wages are way below the state’s minimum wages, a person familiar with the matter said. To end this variation, the centre is looking to rework or change the baseline for paying MNREGA wages, and a committee under Nagesh Singh, additional secretary in department of rural development, has been constituted for the same, the person mentioned above added.

As of now, under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme (MNREGS) wages are paid on the basis of consumer price index (CPI) for agricultural labourers, which is based on the consumption pattern of 1983. But an expert committee constituted by the centre had recommended baseline for MGNREGA indexation should be the current minimum wage fixed by the state for unskilled agricultural workers.

The committee had also suggested that the consumer price index for rural (CPI-rural), which reflects the current consumption pattern of rural households, should be the basis for revising MGNREGA wage rates. The job guarantee scheme provides for up to 100 days’ unskilled employment for every rural household every year. 10 crore families are beneficiaries.

The highest rise of Rs18 in MNREGA is reported by Kerala and Haryana. Haryana has highest wage rate in the country at Rs277 per day, while Bihar and Jharkhand have lowest wage rate at Rs168.

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