NEW DELHI: Labour Ministry has decided to fix the minimum wage at Rs. 350 per day for unskilled agricultural labour in C-class towns in central sphere to be effective from November 1, 2016. At present, agriculture workers in the central sphere are paid as per the rates prescribed under the national floor level minimum wage, which is Rs. 160 per day. "The ministry will notify minimum wages onNovember 1 to enhance minimum wages," Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya told reporters. The minister informed that the new minimum wages notified will enhance wages of unskilled agricultural labour in C-class towns to Rs. 350 per day in the central sphere. As of now the national floor level minimum wage is Rs. 160 (per day), he added.
On benchmark minimum wage across the country, he said, "We are going to get amendment in Minimum Wages Act, which will be called universal minimum wage. Once it is amended then it will become satutory..then all the state governments would have to apply the same standards (of wages)."
At present, the states are free to fix wages for various category of workers as there is no benchmark minimum wage which is applicable across the country. After the amendment, the states will have to maintain a benchmark minimum wage fixed by the Centre.
The minister further said, "The tripartite meeting on 'Code on Wages' is over. Now it is going for the Cabinet approval. After that it will be come in Parliament in next session."
The Winter Session of Parliament is beginning next month. On labour reforms, he said that these two key codes on wages and industrial relations will come in Parliament in the coming winter session.
"The tripartite consultations on Code on Industrial Relations are over and it will go for Cabinet approval. It will be introduced in Parliament in Winter Session."
The ministerial panel on labour chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has set up a committee of secretaries to come up with a report on social security for anganwadi workers, asha workers and mid-day meal workers following which the government will finalise its social security cover for them, Dattatreya added.