India has nearly 2,000 different minimum wages and the latest Economic Survey has called for ‘uniformity’— an idea corporates won’t like
Economic Survey 2018-19has called for a national floor minimum wage.
- Indian states would be allowed to fix the wages which cannot be lower than the floor wage.
- The government also wants to leverage technology to monitor the implementation of the national minimum wage.
The government would then allow states to find allow states to fix the wages which cannot be lower than the floor wage.
Furthermore, the decision of fixing the minimum wage would be based upon primarily two factors – the skill category, that is whether the person is unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled or highly skilled, and the geographical region.
In India, currently there are 1,915 minimum wages, with the liberty given to each state to fix their own wages. The government believes that the establishment of minimum wage which will also lead to reduction in labour migration in the country as it will push industries in India to move to interior areas.
A day before the Economic Survey was tabled the Cabinet had also approved the Code Wages Bill which allows the Centre to fix minimum wages for the entire country. The Confederation of Indian Industry had said that the establishment of a national minimum wage could possibly hurt job creation and that the states should be in charge of fixing the minimum wages.
The technological push
The digitally savvy Modi government wants to ensure that the minimum wages are paid to Indian workers and for that, it wants to leverage the use of technology.
The Economic Survey 2018-19 stated, “Use of a variety of online, mobile phone and networking technologies have the potential to facilitate the collection and analysis of labour statistics, assist with the dissemination of information about labour laws and policies, reduce costs and improve transparency.”
The government also wants to build a national level dashboard that will regulate the minimum wages and will also issue ‘red alerts’ if any state fails to follow the mandate. The Survey also talks about a toll-free number which can be used to address grievances.
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