The ‘Statistics Handbook on Indian States’ report released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 19 Nov 2022 revealed that Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Tripura are getting the lowest daily wages in 2021-22 amid rising inflation. On the other hand, the prices of milk, fruits, vegetables and other basic necessities are skyrocketing.
According to the Reserve Bank, wages for workers working in agriculture, construction, horticulture and other sectors, including non-agricultural sectors in these states, are below the national average. It has been known that where male labourers working in agriculture receive wages at the rate of Rs 217.8 per day. While in Gujarat this salary is Rs 220.3 per day. After these states come the number of Odisha, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar.
States with lowest wages for labourers
- Madhya Pradesh 217.8 per day respectively
- Gujarat Rs 220.3 per day respectively.
- Odisha: 269.5 per day respectively
- Tripura: 270.0 per day respectively
- Uttar Pradesh: 288.0 per day respectively
- Maharashtra: 284.2 per day respectively
- Bihar: 290.3 per day respectively
Why Gujrat pay very less
When Gujarat is compared to other large states with similar levels of per capita income, it fares very poorly. What is even more astonishing is that wages in Gujarat are well below the all-India average, suggesting that it performs in this regard much worse than in much poorer states.
Earlier this year, the Center notified new wage rates under the NREGS rural employment guarantee program for the 2022-23 fiscal year, with 21 of the 34 states and union territories getting an increase of less than 5 per cent and 10 states getting an increase of more than 5 per cent.
When it comes to rural Gujarat, whatever the activity, the workers are not getting properly paid. Not just farmers, but as per 2016 agricultural statistics, at least 39.3 lakh farm households have income less than Rs 1 lakh per year.
In other words, relative to state-level poverty lines, male casual labour wages in Gujarat are at the bottom of the scale in India in terms of the real income they generate.
But ironically, industrialized states attracted the most investment compared to states like Kerala, Jammu & Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh. As per government data, Gujarat reported the highest Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) of over Rs 72,000 crore in FY20. Maharashtra came second with over Rs 69,900 crore, followed by Tamil Nadu with 45,900 crores. Karnataka reported over Rs 27,000 crore of GFCF in the year.
No changes in wage rates
There are no changes in the wage rates of three states: Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura. Of the 31 states and UT, which saw a rise in wages, the highest of 7.14 per cent was recorded in Goa, from Rs 294 per day in 2021-22 to Rs 315 per day in 2022-23.
The lowest increase of 1.77 per cent is in Meghalaya, where the new wage rate has been set at Rs 230 per day from the existing Rs 226 per day.
Top states with highest wages for labourers
- Kerala: Rs 726.8 per day
- Jammu and Kashmir: Rs 524.6 per day
- Himachal Pradesh: Rs 457.6 per day
- Tamil Nadu: Rs 445.6. per day
- Haryana: 395.0 per day.
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