New Delhi: The Centre on Monday said the MNREGA
Act will be amended to end the disparity with minimum wages
even as it issued a notification revising the wage rates under
the employment guarantee scheme for all states and Union
Territories in the new financial year .
The MNREGA wage rate is different in each states as it is
linked to their Consumer Price Index for Agricultural Labour
The central government`s decision assumes significance in
view of the Supreme Court considering the Karnataka High Court
verdict that the central government is liable to pay higher
wages under the programme in tandem with that of the state
minimum wage rate.
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said government
is likely to bring an amendment to the MNREGA Act in the
second part of the budget session to end the controversy of
MNREGA wage rate and minimum wage rate.
"We won`t amend the Minimum Wage Act. We will amend the
MNREGA and we will bring this amendment in this session of
Parliament," the Minister, who tabled a statement regarding
revision of MNREGA wage rate in Parliament, told reporters.
Ramesh said the Government had examined both options of
amending Minimum Wage Act and amending MNREGA and "the weight
of opinion is now that it is easier to amend MNREGA than to
amend the minimum wages inorder to ensure that there is no
discrepancy between the two bills."
"We are likely to introduce this amend in the budget
session of Parliament," he said.
Interestingly, the new wage rate that has been fixed for
Karnataka (Rs 155) exceeds the minimum wage rate of Rs 145.58
of agriculture labourer in Karnataka.
"Without wishing to comment on the case that is currently
subjudice in Supreme Court, I want to say that with this
revision the wage rate in Karnataka is higher than the minimum
wage rate," Ramesh said.