DEMAND FOR INCREASING WAGES UNDER M.G.N.R.E.G.A.
SHRI AMAR PATNAIK (Odisha):Sir, recently NREGA Sangarsh Morcha found that for 33 States and U.T.s, MGNREGA wage rate was less than their minimum wage rate for agriculture. As per the Ministry of Rural Development's own data on the scheme (1.) In Odisha, the average MGNREGA wage rate was Rs. 179.74 per day in 2018-19. This is below the notified minimum wages of Rs. 200 per day for unskilled work. (2.) In Rajasthan, it is Rs. 137.24 per day, while the minimum wage is set at Rs. 213 per day for unskilled work. This disparity in wages reduces the incentive to enrol in the scheme and mitigates its effect as economic security net for vulnerable citizens. Wage rates under the scheme also make
the enforcement of minimum wage difficult as they place at increased bargaining power in the hands of the employers of contractual labour. Workers in many rural areas may be willing to settle for any payment in excess of the MGNREGA Scheme wages even if they are below the minimum wages. These concerns are compounded by the recent increase in rural inflation. Hence, I demand that the Government link MGNREGA wages to the state's minimum wage. Further as recommended in the Report of the Expert Committee on Determining the Methodology for Fixing the National Minimum Wage, MGNREGA wages should be linked to CPI (Rural). Lastly, the Central Government presently covers 75 per cent of material cost under the scheme. I demand, a 90:10 sharing pattern of funds to be implemented in its place in order to provide States greater support for this national scheme. Thank you.