Govt claims on poverty reduction fall flat
GANDHINAGAR: The average daily wage paid to the unskilled casual worker in Gujarat is one of the lowest in India both in rural and urban areas. The tall talk of empowering the poor by the state government as well as the civil society – which consists of non-government organisations and other nonofficial bodies working for alleviating the underdogs’ plight – falls flat if one scans through the latest wage statistics released by the authoritative National Sample Survey (NSS).
Considered the most reliable statistics on the condition of the people between decadal all-India censuses, the NSS figures also show that the average wages people get in Gujarat are much lower than the minimum they are supposed to get – Rs 53 in rural areas and Rs 89 in the urban areas.
In Gujarat’s rural areas, the average daily wage is Rs 45, compared to Rs 58 in Assam, Rs 123 in Delhi, Rs 78 in Goa and Haryana, Rs 82 in Himachal Pradesh, Rs 94 in Jammu & Kashmir, Rs 51 in Jharkhand, Rs 112 in Kerala, Rs 77 in Punjab, Rs 62 in Rajasthan, Rs 58 in Tamil Nadu, Rs 59 in Uttaranchal, Rs 56 in Uttar Pradesh, Rs 49 in West Bengal, Rs 63 in the north-eastern states, and Rs 82 in the Union territories.
Which shows, the average wages in Gujarat’s rural areas are lower than in 15 states (including the north-east as one unit), apart from the Union territory.
The situation is not very different in the urban areas as well, where the average daily wage in Gujarat is Rs 57 compared to Rs 61 in Andhra Pradesh, Rs 86 in Assam, Rs 63 in Bihar, Rs 100 in Delhi, Rs 78 in Goa, Rs 87 in Haryana, Rs 73 in Himachal Pradesh, Rs 101 in Jammu & Kashmir, Rs 63 in Jharkhand, Rs 61 in Karnataka, Rs 127 in Kerala, Rs 64 in Maharashtra, Rs 76 in Punjab, Rs 69 in Rajasthan, Rs 83 in Tamil Nadu, Rs 62 in Uttar Pradesh, Rs 68 in West Bengal, Rs 77 in the north-eastern states, and Rs 81 in the group of Union territories.
Which shows, 18 states score better than "rich Gujarat", apart from the Union territories. The states where the average wages in the rural areas are lower than in Gujarat include Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Orissa.
As for the urban areas, the states getting lower wages than Gujarat are – Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Uttaranchal. Gujarat finds itself bracketed with some of the most backward states, so much so that the average wage in the state is lower than the national average of Rs 51 and Rs 69 for rural and urban areas respectively.
Like elsewhere in India, there is also a male-female divide in the disbursement of wages in Gujarat. Thus, while the average wage for the unskilled rural male is Rs 49, the urban male’s wage is Rs 68.
The respective wages for females are -Rs 36 and Rs 39. Said Prof Indira Hirway of the Centre for Development Alternatives, Ahmedabad, "Wages in Gujarat have been traditionally low – as low as Rs 30 per day – in the state’s dry areas and the eastern tribal belt, though they are quite high in fertile areas of Saurashtra and Central Gujarat.
This is the reason why one finds a low state average. It suggests regional imbalance and disparity."
Rajiv Shah, The Times of India Online
[ Sunday, January 29, 2006 09:11:45 pm, TIMES NEWS NETWORK ]