North Eastern states such as Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim and Manipur have seen the biggest jumps in the rural employment scheme wage rates fixed for the current year.
Mizoram saw a jump of 17 rupees to 211 rupees per day for work done under the MGNREGA scheme during 2019-20, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura with hikes of Rs 15 each per day (see chart).
Among other states, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand led from the front with a hike of Rs 7 per day each.
With this an NREGA worker in Rajasthan will get Rs 199 per day, while those in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand will get Rs 182 each.
The wage rates, and the increases, are calculated based on the increases seen in the Consumer Price Index Agricultural Labour, published by Labour Bureau, Shimla.
As a result, laborers in high-cost states are paid more per day compared to those in states where living costs are low.
HARYANA, KERALA LEADS
Ranked in terms of costs and wages, Haryana continued to rank the highest, with laborers here getting a per-day payment of Rs 284 under MG-NREGA. Last year, Haryana laborers were getting Rs 281.
Chandigarh and Kerala occupied the second and third position. However, no MG-NREGA wage rate has been published for Chandigarh for the year 2019-20.
As such, Kerala has moved up to No.2 spot in terms of daily minimum wage, at Rs 271. However, the state has seen zero increment in 2019-20 over 2018-19, as the cost of living remained static.
Besides Kerala, five other states and territories — including Karnataka, Goa, West Bengal, Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands — saw zero wage increase in 2019-20.
States that saw modest increases are Punjab (Rs 1), Himachal Pradesh (Rs 1), Madhya Pradesh (Rs 2) and Chhattisgarh (Rs 2).
Maharashtra, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and Bihar saw increases of Rs 3 per day in the MG-NREGS wages.
In the current year, said the government, 98.2% of all pay orders — which release the wages — were generated within 15 days of the state government submitting them.