Govt awaits Labour Min's decision on modifying consumer priceindices

New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI) The government is awaiting theLabour ministry's decision on modifying consumer price indicesbefore linking MGNREGA wages to inflation, Rajya Sabha wasinformed on Friday.

Replying to supplementary questions during Question Hourin the Upper House on linking of wages of Mahatma GandhiNational Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) toinflation, Minister of Rural Development Narendra Singh Tomarsaid every year in April, new wage rates under the scheme areannounced.

In the written reply, the minister stated that tocompensate the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA workers, the Ministry ofRural Development revises the unskilled wage rate based onConsumer Price Index for Agricultural Labour (CPI-AL) everyyear for all States/UTs.

'A committee was constituted to study inter-alia theappropriate index for revising Mahatma Gandhi NREGA wages. TheCommittee recommended using Consumer Price Index-Rural insteadof the existing Consumer Price Index for Agricultural Labour(CPI-AL) for revising Mahatma Gandhi NREGA wage every year.

'The Committee also recommended use of annual averageinstead of the existing practice of using December month indexonly. The recommendations of the Committee are underexamination in consultation with other Ministries includingthe Ministry of Finance,' the minister said in written reply.

On a supplementary question regarding linking of MGNREGAworkers to social security schemes like Employee ProvidentFund and Pension Fund, Tomar said from a social securitystandpoint there are schemes like Pradhan Mantri Jeevan JyotiYojana, PM Suraksha Bima Yojana, and MGNREGA workers are alsocovered for accidents taking place while on duty.

Replying to another supplementary on whether thegovernment will consider payment be made to states as perminimum wages, Tomar said MGNREGA has its own rules and normsand wages can only be fixed as per its own norms and notaccording as per minimum wages of states.

'All states have different prevailing situationstherefore minimum wages vary accordingly. In would like topoint out that when we determine MNREGA wages according to CPIthat is different,' the minister observed.

'But if we allow it to be based only on a state's minimumwages, certainly this won't be possible at present because theordinance itself has a provision that MNREGA wages should beseparately notified. There is a procedure in place accordingto old rules so they are being followed accordingly,' he said.

On a supplementary question on when outstanding dues toAndhra Pradesh will be released, Tomar gave an assurance thatno pendency of dues relating to Andhra Pradesh would remainwith his ministry. PTI RSNDV DV