New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday approved around 37 per cent hike in the minimum wages and termed it a "Holi gift" for the city's labour class. It now needs to be cleared by Lt. Governor Anil Baijal.
Revision in the minimum wages are done on the recommendation of a committee formed after former Lt Governor Najeeb Jung returned the file of a proposal to hike minimum wages by about 50 per cent last September. A special tripartite committee -- comprising five members each from the government, labour unions and industry associations -- was formed with approval from the LG to remove the discrepancies.
This committee held several meetings in this regard. The final committee meeting was held on February 16. The Delhi Cabinet approved the recommendation of the new committee to revise minimum wages in the national capital on Saturday. "This is a very big and historic decision. With this, we are directly putting money into the pocket of poor people," Kejriwal said.
Addressing a press conference here, Kejriwal said the Cabinet decision would be put before the LG on Monday for clearance. "We are sending this file to LG sir (Anil Baijal) and are very hopeful about its approval. I will personally go and meet him in this connection. If LG approves this proposal, then it will be a Holi gift to the labourers in Delhi," Kejriwal said.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Convener said the special committee constituted by the Delhi Labour Department recommended a hike in minimum wages by about 37 per cent. "The minimum wages for unskilled labour in Delhi currently stands at Rs 9,724 per month, which has been increased to Rs 13,350," Kejriwal said.
"For semi-skilled and skilled persons, the minimum wage would be increased from Rs 10,764 to Rs 14,698 and from Rs 11,830 to Rs 16,182, respectively," he said. Kejriwal said this is the second attempt by the AAP government within months to revise minimum wages after former LG Jung turned down the previous decision to revises wages on procedural grounds.
The AAP government had earlier proposed minimum monthly wages for unskilled workers to be increased from Rs 9,000 to Rs 14,052, for semi-skilled workers from Rs 10,582 to Rs 15,471, and for skilled workers from Rs 11,622 to Rs 17,033. "The revised minimum wage figures are Rs 600 to Rs 700 less than the last year's proposal," Kejriwal said.
He said if the government had stuck to the old recommendations of hiking minimum wages by about 50 per cent then it would have invited unnecessary litigation. "So we decided to go by the latest recommendations of the new committee after analysing the latest data," Kejriwal added.
Labour Minister Gopal Rai said that the committee decided the minimum wages after assessing five points, recommended by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Supreme Court, which are housing, clothing, food, education, electricity and fuel, taking into consideration their market prices.