NEW DELHI: Despite the labour ministry’s expert committee recommending a hike of Rs 375 per day as
the national minimum wage, the Cabinet has approved the Wage Code Bill which hikes it by a mere Rs 2.
The Centre’s decision comes close on the heels of the Economic Survey, tabled in Parliament on July 4, suggesting that higher national minimum wages would play a key role in eliminating economic inequality and alleviating poverty in the country.
According to officials, the mandatory national minimum wage will not be as per the ministry’s expert committee recommendations.
“It will be much less than the recommended amount. The main factor which contributed to this decision was the objection raised by the employers,” an official said.
The labour code on wages has a minimum wage provision and states cannot pay workers an amount lesser
than the one specified as minimum wage.
The ministry’s committee, in its report in January, said, “The single value of the national minimum wage for India should be set at Rs 375 per day as of July 2018.”
The panel, comprising seven experts, had also recommended an amount of Rs 9,750 as minimum monthly wage and Rs 1,430 as an allowance for housing for workers in cities.
The move to raise the national minimum income by a mere Rs 2 may not go down well with workers’ unions, which have been demanding and expecting higher wages based on the national mandatory wage floor.
“There has been a long-standing demand from us to increase minimum wages. The workers’ lifestyles need to improve. Now that there has been a lot of talk about it, we are very hopeful that it will be implemented. But if the Rs 2 increase is true, it will be very disappointing,” an office-bearer of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) said.
However, the industry does not seem to be in favour of the hike in the national minimum wage. In June, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) said that states should have the power to determine minimum wages. According to the Confederation of Indian Industries, the concept of a national minimum wage will affect job creation across the country.