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Revised Wage Rates for MGNREGA Workers

The article discusses the new MGNREGA wage rates for 2024-2025. It highlights state-wise variations, factors influencing adjustments, and the program’s objective to provide rural employment and improve livelihoods.

What is the context?

The Centre has recently issued a notification detailing the new wage rates for unskilled manual workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) for the fiscal year 2024-2025, effective from April 1, 2024. This update, released by the Ministry of Rural Development under section 6 of the MGNREGA 2005, highlights varying wage rate increases across Indian states.

State-wise Wage Rate Variations:
  • Highest Increase: Goa leads with a 10.56% hike.
  • Lowest Increase: Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand both record a modest 3.04% rise.
  • Maximum Wage Rate: Haryana tops the list with a daily wage rate of Rs 374.
  • Minimum Wage Rate: Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland set the lowest rate at Rs 234 per day.
Significant Wage Rate Increases:

States like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana have observed notable increases in their NREGS wages, each marking a hike of over 10%. For instance, Karnataka’s new rate is Rs 349 per day, while Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have set their rates at Rs 300 per day, reflecting a 10.29% increase compared to the previous year.

Factors Influencing Wage Adjustments:

Wage adjustments are predominantly influenced by changes in the Consumer Price Index- Agriculture Labor (CPI-AL), indicating rural inflation rates. The Central government determines state-wise wage rates for NREGS workers based on this index. Despite variations, the average wage increase for the fiscal year 2024-25 is approximately 7%.

Election Commission Approval:

The Ministry of Rural Development secured the Election Commission’s approval to announce the revised NREGA wages. This underscores the importance of adhering to administrative and regulatory procedures, especially concerning welfare schemes like MGNREGA, within the electoral context.

Conclusion:

The newly announced wage rates under MGNREGA for 2024-2025 reflect diverse adjustments across states, shaped by factors like inflation rates and administrative protocols. These adjustments are pivotal in ensuring fair wages for unskilled manual workers and addressing rural livelihood challenges.

Overview of MGNREGA:
  • MGNREGA: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005.
  • Objective: To guarantee the “right to work” for rural citizens by ensuring a minimum of 100 days of unskilled manual work per adult member of an eligible rural household.
  • Main Proponents: Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), development economist Jean Drèze, among others.

Key Provisions of MGNREGA:

  • Eligibility: Applicants must be Indian citizens, 18 years or older, from rural households, willing to undertake unskilled work.
  • Guaranteed Employment: A minimum of 100 days of unskilled employment at the government-set minimum wage.
  • Unemployment Allowance: If work is not provided within 15 days, applicants receive an unemployment allowance.
  • Employment Preference: Jobs are usually offered within a 5 km radius of the applicant’s village, with travel allowances provided.
  • Worker Welfare: Implementing agencies are responsible for ensuring proper working conditions, medical facilities, and timely payments.
    Hence, the MGNREGA Act aims to empower rural citizens by providing employment opportunities and improving their economic well-being through a decentralized and participatory approach.

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