Ministry mulls on `real` wages for NREGA workers

Last Updated: Monday, February 22, 2010 - 23:10

New Delhi: With spiralling food prices
affecting the purchasing power of earnings received by NREGA
workers, the government has decided to set up an expert group
to link wages of these workers to changes in prices.

"We will give real wages to NREGA workers. The real wage
of Rs 100 had been fixed when food prices were normal. Now,
prices have gone high and whatever NREGA workers are earning
now is comparatively less," Rural Development Minister C P
Joshi said.

"So we have written to the ministry of statistics and
programme implementation to constitute an expert group to look
into the issue of creating a separate wage index for NREGA,"
he said.

CEGC members Jean Drez and Aruna Roy has suggested the
ministry that wage index for NREGA should be linked to
consumer price index so that NREGA workers remain unaffected
by inflation.

Joshi said his ministry was "committed" to give real wage
to NREGA workers and that he had made a commitment in this
regard during the last session of Parliament.

"Expert committee, to be constituted on the issue, would
look into the fact whether wage index for NREGA should be
linked with consumer price index," he said.

A senior official said the finance ministry, when
approached by the rural development ministry for guidance on
the issue, suggested that ministry should create a separate
wage index for NREGA based on the requirement of programme.

Talking to PTI, Drez said he suggested during the CEGC
meeting that wage rate in NREGA should be linked to the
consumer price index so that wages would also increase with
price.

He described indexing of wage rates as "very important"
issue and said, "There was a consensus on the issue among many
members of CEGC. We were of the stand that consumer price
index for agricultural labour is already there. This is
adequate and can be used for giving immediate relief to NREGA
workers."

PTI



First Published: Monday, February 22, 2010 - 23:10

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