November 26, 2023

MP, Gujarat Pay lowest; Kerala Pays Highest Daily Wages to the Workers

J S Majumdar

BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh and much-hyped ‘model state’ Gujarat pay lowest; and LDF-ruled Kerala pays highest wages to the workers, noted the latest report of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the Financial Year (FY) 2022-23. 

A male agricultural worker got Rs 229.2 in MP and Rs 241.9 in Gujarat as daily wage, below the national average of Rs 345.7. For 25 working days in a month it amounts to just around Rs 5,730 in MP and Rs 6,047 in Gujarat.

As per the rating firm Crisil, the cost of a veg-thali was Rs 27.9/day or Rs 840/month and a non-veg-thali Rs 61.4/day in September 2023. As such, a family of five of an agricultural worker, sustaining on veg-thali, would be starving in these states. 

In contrast, much above the national average and highest in India, LDF-led Kerala pays highest daily wage to agricultural workers at Rs 764.3 per day or Rs 19,107 for 25 days of work in a month. As such it attracted large number of migrant rural workers numbering around 25 Lakhs.  

The average daily wages in 2021-22 of the agricultural workers in other poorly-paid states include Uttar Pradesh - Rs 309.3; Odisha – Rs 285.1; Maharashtra (the most industrialised state) – Rs 303.5.

The other comparatively higher paid states include Jammu & Kashmir – Rs 550.4, Himachal Pradesh – Rs 473.3, Tamil Nadu – Rs 470 per day.

In case of non-agricultural workers, the lowest average wage was: in MP - Rs 246.3; Gujarat - Rs 273.1; Tripura – Rs 280 per day; all below the national average of Rs 348.

For non-agricultural workers, the higher-paid-wages-states include: Kerala – Rs 696.6; Jammu & Kashmir – Rs 517.9; Tamil Nadu – Rs 481.5; Haryana - Rs 451 per day for the FY 2022-23.

For the construction workers, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are again below the national average of Rs 393.3. Rural construction workers got an average wage in Gujarat - Rs 323.2; MP - Rs 278.7 and Tripura - Rs 286.1 per day in FY 2022-23.

The higher paid states for them include: Kerala - Rs 852.5; Jammu & Kashmir – 534.5; Tamil Nadu - Rs 500.9; and Himachal Pradesh - Rs 498.3.

Real rural wage growth virtually stagnated in 2022-23 averaging 5.8 per cent for the agricultural and 4.9 per cent in non-agricultural labour.