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Madhya Pradesh: Rural Workers Get Lowest Daily Wages, Below National Average

RBI data showed that while the national average for the year ended March 2023 was Rs 345.7, male agricultural workers in rural areas in Madhya Pradesh got a daily wage of just Rs 229.2.
MGNREGA workers. Women/Gaganjit Singh/Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

New Delhi: In Madhya Pradesh, which went to the polls on Friday (November 17), rural agricultural workers get the lowest daily wages in the country below the national average, according to data compiled by RBI.

While the national average for the year ended March 2023 was Rs 345.7, male agricultural workers in rural areas in Madhya Pradesh got a daily wage of just Rs 229.2, the Indian Express reported.

The other state that recorded the lowest daily wages was Gujarat where male agricultural workers got a daily wage of Rs 241.9.

Other poorly paid states include Uttar Pradesh where rural farm workers got an average daily wage of Rs 309.3 and Odisha Rs 285.1 in 2021-22. While in Maharashtra which is touted as an industrialised state, male farm workers got Rs 303.5 daily.

According to the central bank’s data, a rural farm worker in Madhya Pradesh will get a monthly earning of around Rs 5,730 per month if he works for 25 days. In Gujarat, the monthly wage for a farm worker would have been around Rs 6,047.

In comparison a rural farm worker in Kerala, which pays the highest wage of Rs 764.3 per person among states, gets an average of Rs 19,107 for 25 days of work in a month.

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The data said in the case of male non-agricultural workers, the lowest wage was again seen in MP with an average wage of Rs 246.3 while in Gujarat workers got a daily wage of Rs 273.1 and Tripura Rs 280.6.

The national average however was Rs 348.

In terms of non-agricultural workers’ daily wages, Kerala leads states with Rs 696.6 per person. This is followed by Jammu and Kashmir (Rs 517.9), Tamil Nadu (Rs 481.5) and Haryana (Rs 451) for the year ended March 2023.

In case of rural male construction workers, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are once again at the bottom and below the national average of Rs 393.3.

While in Gujarat rural construction workers got an average wage of Rs 323.2, in Madhya Pradesh it was Rs 278.7 and Tripura Rs 286.1 per day during the fiscal ended March 2023.

In comparison, the daily wage for rural construction workers was Rs 852.5 in Kerala, Rs 534.5 in Jammu and Kashmir, Rs 500.9 in Tamil Nadu and Rs 498.3 in Himachal Pradesh, the data said.

The RBI report said that extreme weather events remain a key factor as rural jobs are dependent on agriculture which is dependent on monsoon and rabi and kharif production.

“Increasing frequency of extreme weather events, therefore, remain a key monitor-able. While lowering of demand for MGNREGA jobs is an encouraging sign for the rural economy from a job perspective, depressed wages are a matter of concern for rural demand,” the RBI report said.

The report said that an increase had been recorded in the pace of wage growth for agricultural and non-agricultural labourers. It reached an intra-year peak of 7.7% in January 2023 and 5.6% in November 2022, respectively, before moderating in March 2023.

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