Ministry mulls on `real` wages for NREGA workers
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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."


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

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