Sikkim hikes minimum wage to ensure Rs15,000 per month for unskilled workers

The state government also announced hikes on the usual wage depending on the altitude at which people are working.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, September 14, 2022, 08:11 PM IST
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Implementation of minimum wage policies remains a concern in India. | PTI

More than a year back, India’s Labour and Employment Minister slammed Oxfam’s inequality index in parliament, for placing the country on rank 151 among 158 nations in terms of labour rights protection. Despite the introduction of policies, alarming figures from the national capital Delhi recently revealed that 95 per cent of workers in the city aren’t being paid the stipulated minimum wage. Although Delhi was leading among Indian states in terms of minimum wage, Sikkim seems to be catching up.

With a bill to hike minimum wage by 67 per cent, Sikkim will now ensure that even unskilled labour will earn a minimum of Rs 15,000 for 30 days, by raising the daily wage from Rs 300 to Rs 500. For semi-skilled workers the minimum per day wage will be Rs 520 and skilled workers will get Rs 535. As part of a commitment by the CM PS Tamang, those working at an altitude of 8000 feet to 12000 feet will get 50 per cent more than the regular wage, those at 12000 feet to 16000 feet will get 75 per cent more, and wages will be doubled for workers beyond 16000 feet.

Overtaking the national capital

The labour department is also planning a statewide campaign, to make sure that workers register for educational and medical benefits among others. Sikkim also has the second highest per capita income after Goa, and has surged past Delhi in that regard.

Minimum wage in India varies from state-to-state, and separate wages are also decided for agricultural workers. But concerns about implementation are highlighted by reports such as one by US-based Workers Rights Consortium, that showed how four lakh workers in Karnataka haven’t received minimum wages since April 2020.

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