An expert panel has recommended that a need-based national minimum wage for workers across the country be set at Rs. 375 per day, or Rs. 9,750 per month.
In a report submitted to the Ministry of Labour and Employment on Thursday, an Expert Committee on Determining the Methodology for Fixation of the National Minimum Wage has also recommended different national minimum wages for “different geographical regions of the country to suit the local realities and as per socio-economic and labour market contexts.”
These regional wage recommendations range from Rs. 342 per day in some States including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal to Rs. 447/day for States such as Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
While the Minimum Wages Act was enacted in 1948, it stipulates different wages according to occupation and State; there is no national minimum wage. In 2016, then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley hiked minimum wages for unskilled non-agricultural workers by 42% to Rs. 350 per day.
The Code on Wages Bill, 2017, had proposed a national minimum wage and five regional minimum wages. However, it was referred to a parliamentary standing committee which, in its December 2018 report, said State governments must be consulted before any national minimum wage is set by the Centre.